"North America, with its large consumer base,68 continues to be one of the main destinations for cocaine trafficked from South America. Mexico is an important transit country functioning as a gateway for cocaine reaching the United States,69 which accounts for the majority of cocaine users in North America,70 as well as Canada (primarily via the United States, but also directly from Mexico71). Cocaine reaches Mexico from South America via different routes: via maritime shipments, especially using go-fast boats; via clandestine flights; and also, via land.

"Maritime trafficking appears to be the dominant modality along the western (Pacific) coast of the Central American landmass,72 with several identified maritime routes ending directly on the western coast of Mexico, including states like Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, Jalisco and Sinaloa,73 74 while others make landfall further south, in Central American countries with a coast on the Pacific, such as (from north to south) Guatemala,75 76 El Salvador,77 78 79 Nicaragua,80 81 Costa Rica82 83 and Panama,84 before continuing the journey north. Traffickers rely extensively on go-fast boats for trafficking along this route,85 but other vessels, including semi-submersibles86 and fishing boats,87 88 89 are also used. The US Drug Enforcement Administration estimated this route to account for 74 per cent of cocaine flowing north out of South America.90 Ecuador is a major departure country for cocaine leaving the South American landmass along this route.91 92 Once the vessels reach or approach the Pacific coast of Central America, cocaine may also be transferred to other maritime vessels to continue northward along the coast.93 94 95 96"


UNODC, Global Report on Cocaine 2023 - Local Dynamics, Global Challenges. United Nations publications, 2023.