Overview: Counterterrorism cooperation between Mexico and the United States remained strong in 2021. There was no credible evidence indicating international terrorist groups established bases in Mexico, worked directly with Mexican drug cartels, or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States in 2021. Still, the U.S. government remains vigilant against possible targeting of U.S. interests or persons in Mexico by individuals inspired by international terrorist groups. The U.S. southern border remains vulnerable to terrorist transit, but to date there have been no confirmed cases of a successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil by a terrorist who gained entry to the United States through Mexico.
2021 Terrorist Incidents: There were no reported terrorist incidents in Mexico in 2021.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: There were no changes to Mexico’s counterterrorism legislation in 2021. The government lacked adequate laws prohibiting material support to terrorists and relied largely on counterterrorism regimes in other countries to thwart potential threats. U.S. law enforcement reported increased collaboration with Mexican authorities in 2021 to identify potential counterterrorism threats among the growing number of third-country nationals transiting Mexico. In October, the United States and Mexico launched the Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities to boost bilateral cooperation on law enforcement and border security, among other security matters. The Center for National Intelligence, housed within the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection, was the lead agency for detecting, deterring, and preventing terrorist threats in 2021. The Mexican Attorney General’s Office was the lead agency for investigating and prosecuting terrorism-related offenses. Impunity remained a problem, with extremely low rates of prosecution for all crimes, including terrorism.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Mexico is a member of FATF, as well as the GAFILAT, a FATF-style regional body. Mexico is also a cooperating and supporting nation of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and is an observer of the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (or MONEYVAL), two FATF-style regional bodies. The Financial Intelligence Unit-Mexico is a member of the Egmont Group and proactively shared financial intelligence on shared threats with its U.S. Department of the Treasury counterpart, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
Mexico passed an expansive assets forfeiture law in 2019, but in 2021 the Supreme Court declared civil asset forfeiture elements of the law unconstitutional. To date, Mexican prosecutors have not used the law to seize assets of illicit origin in a terrorism case.
Countering Violent Extremism: There was no action in 2021 to establish official CVE policies, initiatives, or programs.
International and Regional Cooperation: As a member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for 2021-22, Mexico led the adoption of a UNSC presidential statement in November on maintaining international peace and security through a holistic approach to countering terrorism. Mexico reiterated its commitment to counterterrorism efforts in 2021 at several UN discussions. It supports the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy and has underscored the need to combat firearms trafficking to deprive terrorists of weapons. Mexico is a member of the OAS/Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (OAS-CICTE). In October, Mexico became vice chair of the CICTE.