Mexico cracks down on illegal iron ore mining, after revelation that drug cartel was involved

MEXICO CITY – Mexican police, soldiers and government inspectors have raided 11 iron ore yards at one of the country’s largest seaports, following revelations that drug cartels had been exporting ore to China.

Authorities have seized more than 100,000 tons of ore as well as 124 bulldozers, backhoes and trucks as a result of the raid on at the Pacific coast seaport of Lazaro Cardenas.

The federal security commissioner for western Michoacan state said late Monday that the ore is being tested to determine which mines it came from and whether they were legally registered.

In November, the government took over control of the port to cut off illicit income for the Knights Templar drug cartel.

Federal officials say the Michoacan-based cartel had been mining, stealing or extorting iron ore for several years.