Mexico Supreme Court Rules States Have No Right to Legislate Cartels

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday (June 24, 2013) that no state, or the Federal District, may pass local laws targeting organized crime, such as drug cartels.

The court’s unanimous decision was “without doubt, the federal government has fully occupied the arena of organized crime legislation, to the exclusion of all of others.” Chief Justice Juan Silva Meza stated that this was mandated by the 2008 Constitutional reform that “Federalized” the regulation of organized crime.

The case was brought to the Supreme Court by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission who argued that laws passed by the state of Nuevo León in 2013 were unconstitutional.

The Mexican attorney general’s office has claimed that 9 of 10 victims of the Mexican Drug War are members of organized-crime groups, although this figure has been questioned by other sources. Deaths among military and police personnel are an estimated 7% of the total. The states that suffer from the conflict most are Baja California, Guerrero, Chihuahua, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and Sinaloa.

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