During the period from to the late s a period called The Mexican Dirty War , the DFS was accused of illegal detentions, torture, assassinations and forced disappearances.
The agency was highly successful in thwarting and deterring any attempt by anti-government or pro-Soviet organizations to destabilize the country. Multiple agents were suspected and later confirmed of having links with criminal organizations, which included top members like Miguel Nazar Haro and Arturo "El Negro" Durazo Moreno.
Some such criminal exploits included a million dollar US-Mexico car theft ring,  collaborating in drug trafficking with the Guadalajara Cartel including the protection of the infamous "Colonia Bufalo" marijuana crops ,  training the Nicaraguan contras in drug trafficker owned ranches,        the murder of journalist Manuel Buendia , for investigating ties between the DFS, the CIA and drug traffickers,  and for having some degree of participation in, and providing cover to, the kidnapping and subsequent death of DEA agent Enrique Camarena Salazar.
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