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Fuerzas Especiales

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Special Operations Forces
Fuerzas Especiales
FES insignia
Active2001 - present
CountryUnited Mexican States
Allegiance Mexico
BranchMexican Navy
TypeNaval Special Operations Commando
Part ofUnidad de Operaciones Especiales (UNOPES)
Motto(s)Fuerza, Espíritu, Sabiduría (Strength, Spirit, Wisdom)

The Fuerzas Especiales (Special Forces), commonly known as FES is a Tier 1 special operations group of the Mexican Navy - Marines that falls under the special operations command (UNOPES). It was officially established in late 2001.

These forces are capable of carrying out non-conventional warfare in the air, sea and land, by utilizing all means of infiltration available to develop the most variable operational incursions with the use of military diving techniques, parachuting, vertical descent, urban combat, sniping and use of explosives. The units are well organized, trained and equipped to operate independently in maritime, lake, riverine or terrestrial scenarios.



The FES has played a major active role in the war against international cartels by undertaking direct action missions, intelligence gathering, reconnaissance operations, weapons and facility seizures, kill or capture missions with support from U.S. government agencies such as the DEA.

Some of their most known operations:

  1. Operation Cuerno III. The raid and elimination of the leader of the Beltran Leyva Cartel, Arturo Beltran Leyva, in Cuernavaca, Morelos in December 2009.
  2. Elimination of Gulf Cartel leader Antonio Cárdenas Guillén aka "Tony Tormenta" in Matamoros, Mexico, 2010. 3 marines KIA during the firefight with his close protection circle of gunmen known as “Los Escorpiones”. Heavy fire, grenades and road blockades were implemented by the cartel gunmen that day.[1]
  3. In 2012 during a successful operation Zetas cartel regional boss Iván Velázquez Caballero aka ''El Talibán'' was captured in San Luis Potosi.[2]
  4. In 2013 special operations personnel with support from the US government was able to track down with a drone & capture Zetas cartel top boss, Miguel Ángel Treviño, aka Z-40, in Nuevo Laredo[3]
  5. On February 22, 2014, El Chapo Guzman was captured in Mazatlán, Mexico, by FES teams.[4]
  6. Operation Black Swan. During a joint US-Mexico operation, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, was captured in Los Mochis, Sinaloa in 2016. Guzman Loera had escaped from prison in 2015.[5]
  7. Operation Barcina. Operation which gained media attention due to a leaked video where a helicopter with a mounted M134 Minigun was gunning down the Beltran Leyva Cartel regional boss Juan Francisco Patrón aka “El H2” and his gunmen in 2017.[6]
  8. In July 2022, they carried out the successful "Operación Leyenda II" in which they captured the pioneer drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.[7]



In order to become part of the Special Forces the contestant must pass a basic special forces course. The course has a duration of 1571 hours that is divided in 6 phases:

  1. Introduction to Special Forces (4 weeks)
  2. Parachuting (5 weeks)
  3. Commando and stress tests (6 weeks)
  4. Mountain operations (4 weeks)
  5. Intervention/CQB (5 weeks)
  6. Diving and combat diving courses (16 weeks)

After passing the basic special forces course the operator continues to receive the additional training in the following areas:

  • Counter-terrorism
  • Combat medicine
  • VIP close protection
  • Drone surveillance
  • Sniper course
  • VBSS operations
  • HALO/HAHO parachuting
  • Military intelligence
  • Special Reconnaissance
  • Search and rescue
  • Hazardous materials handling
  • Human rights awareness
  • EOD

Some of the main training centers and subcenters where courses are given:

  • Centro de Entrenamiento Avanzado in Valle de Bravo, Mexico
  • Centro de Capacitación y Adiestramiento Especializado de Infantería de Marina (CENCAEIM) in Champotón, Mexico
  • Escuela de Búsqueda, Rescate y Buceo in Acapulco, Mexico

Additional training is also given to FES operators in the United States.[8]


Operator wearing the old 'Camuflaje 3 Jungla' uniform during a deployment in Northern Mexico in early 2010's

See also


List of military special forces units


  1. ^ ""Marina siguió seis meses a Tony Tormenta"".
  2. ^ "Captura la Marina a El Talibán presunto líder de Los Zetas". 27 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Captura de El Z-40, con apoyo de un dron de EU, dicen funcionarios". 19 July 2013.
  4. ^ "'El Chapo' Guzman: How the world's most wanted drug lord was finally busted". CNN. 24 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Inside the Dramatic Raid That Took Down 'El Chapo'". ABC News.
  6. ^ ""Operación Barcina". El ataque al corazón del Cártel de los Beltrán Leyva".
  7. ^ "Mexico detains drug lord wanted by US as 14 killed in Black Hawk helicopter crash". CNN. 16 July 2022.
  8. ^ "4 INFORME DE LABORES 2021-22" (PDF).
  9. ^ "La Marina de México compra armamento por 26 millones de dólares".