On June 8, 2024, an executive order that punishes the misuse of remotely piloted aircraft (“RPA”) in Mexico came into force after it was published in the Official Gazette.

The executive order amends the Federal Criminal Code as well as the Firearms and Explosives Act (the Laws) to punish improper use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) and introduces aggravated penalties for crimes committed with RPA.

In the bill’s declaration of purpose, Mexico’s president explained that in recent years, criminal organized groups have used RPA to help them commit crimes against armed forces, police, and even peasants and farmers. RPA are also used to provide information to those criminal groups and to avoid being captured.

For such reasons, and since the prior legal framework did not offer the controls necessary to ensure the proper use of RPA nor did establish severe sanctions for those misusing them, it became necessary to reform the Laws, particularly to guarantee people’s security and protect their lives and property.

The new sanctions are as follows:

  • Imprisonment from 15 to 40 years and a fine of $43,428 Mexican pesos to $130,284 Mexican pesos (numbers in force during 2024)[1] to anyone who uses RPA to commit crimes.
  • Imprisonment from 10 to 20 years for anyone who uses RPA to throw any object, explosive device, or chemical substance or crash the RPA against a person or property with the purpose of causing damage.
  • Increase the penalty by up to half when the injured person is a member of the armed forces or public security services.
  • Imprisonment from 5 to 10 years for anyone who imports, manufactures, assembles, acquires, or adjusts RPA to transport explosive devices, weapons, narcotics, or synthetic drugs.
  • Sanction whoever uses RPA equipped with devices that allow taking photos or recording audio and video to monitor the activities of public servants to spot or report their location.
  • Imprisonment from 3 to 20 years for anyone who possesses or takes control of a physical platform, air/maritime navigation services facilities, or civil aviation airports with violence, threats, or deception.

It remains to be seen whether the reforms to the Laws will help to achieve the objectives put forth by the president. It is not yet proven that adopting more severe sanctions has a direct impact on crime rate reduction. We will see the outcome of those reforms soon.

Please click on the link below to read the publication of the executive order in Mexico’s official gazette:


By Antonio Cervantes

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash