Congress approves penalties for drone misuse

Congress approves penalties for drone misuse

MEXICO - The Chamber of Deputies reformed and added the Federal Criminal Code and the Federal Firearms and Explosives Law to punish the improper use of remotely piloted aircraft (drones) with fines and imprisonment.

With 419 votes in favor, zero against and 23 abstentions, the legislators approved the reform ruling, which was sent to the Senate of the Republic for its constitutional effects, which derives from an initiative presented by the head of the Federal Executive on August 1, 2023.

Thus, a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years is imposed to anyone who, through the use of remotely piloted aircraft, throws any explosive object or device, improvised explosive devices or weapons, as well as chemical substances that by themselves or in combination are susceptible to be used as explosives on other persons or goods, and impacts any person or property, with the purpose of causing damage.

When the person or property involved belongs to or is destined for the Armed Forces or public security forces, the established penalty shall be increased by up to one half.

Similarly, a prison sentence of five to ten years will be applied to anyone who imports, manufactures, arms, acquires or adapts remotely piloted aircraft for the transportation of explosive devices, improvised explosive devices, weapons, narcotics, synthetic drugs or other materials regulated by the Federal Firearms and Explosives Law.

Likewise, whoever uses remotely piloted aircraft equipped with devices that allow photographing or making audio or video recordings, physically or using electronic means, to monitor activities of public officials, with the purpose of knowing or reporting their location to evade their action or execute aggressions against them, shall be sentenced to three to ten years in prison, confiscation of the devices, equipment and objects resulting from the crime, and a fine of 50 to 400 times the daily value of the Unidad de Medida y Actualización (UMA) (Measurement and Updating Unit).

The secretary of the Justice Commission, Deputy Rosangela Amairany Peña Escalante, said that in recent years criminal groups have turned drones into a frequent tool for the commission of criminal conduct, ranging from drug trafficking and drug trafficking, to carrying out attacks with explosives and chemical substances.

According to Armed Forces records, more than 600 attacks with explosives-equipped drones have been carried out in Mexico, most of them in the states of Guerrero, Michoacán and Tamaulipas.