In his press conference on the morning of Thursday, July 15, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced that the country’s Armed Forces will be taking control of the newly created National Customs Agency of Mexico (ANAM), with the transition set to happen within the next 180 days.
“We are going to strengthen land and maritime customs with the support of the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) and with the support of the Secretariat of the Navy (Semar),” said López Obrador. “We have to continue fighting against smuggling, the introduction of drugs and tax evasion, and to clear all custom backlogs in the country.”
AMLO went on to say that “the Armed Forces will be responsible for the operation and administration” of customs fees and paperwork.
“They are going to be in charge of customs because there are problems with smuggling fuel and, of course, the entry of weapons and fentanyl,” he said.
“We need to put order in everything related to customs.”
The ANAM was created just the day before, on Wednesday, July 14, as a decentralized body of the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) through a decree made by López Obrador himself in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF).
López Obrador likewise announced on Thursday that no referrals would be accepted to staff the new agency outside of the army due to “customs always being involved in corruption.”
However, AMLO failed to address the fact that Mexico’s own military is notoriously corrupt and has only increased problems at the customs ports it had been given jurisdiction over prior to the ANAM’s creation.