Monday, November 9, 2020

Defense Department: U.S., Mexico Cooperate To Reduce Cross-Border Drug Flow

 David Vergun at the DOD News offers the below piece on how the Defense Department and Mexico are working to stem the flow of drugs into the U.S.: 

The Defense Department's statutory mission is to serve as the single lead agency for the detection and monitoring of the aerial and maritime transit of illicit drugs into the United States. Cooperation with allies and partners, such as Mexico, is critical to that effort, said a DOD official. 

"Mexico remains the source of nearly all heroin seized in the United States and is a transit route for much of the cocaine available in our country," Matthew J. Flynn, deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics and global threats, said. 

Moreover, Mexican cartels take advantage of uneven precursor chemical controls to manufacture deadly drugs, such as fentanyl and methamphetamine, inside of Mexico, which also make their way into the United States, he said. 

"Despite the obstacles, Mexican law enforcement and military professionals, in cooperation with their U.S. counterparts, are bravely confronting the transnational criminal organizations that threaten both of our countries," Flynn added. 

While much more remains to be done in the fight against Mexican cartels, it is important to recognize the efforts of the Mexican security forces that work daily to confront the transnational criminal organizations that threaten both the United States and Mexico, Flynn emphasized. 

Two recent seizures highlight the efforts of Mexican agencies to disrupt the cartels' illicit activities, he said.  

On Oct. 15, the Mexican army used radar data from a U.S.-provided radar in Hermosillo, a city in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora, to track a plane carrying drugs, Flynn said.  

Mexican soldiers moved to the area in which the plane appeared to land and seized a "poly-load" totaling 430 kilograms of assorted drugs: 56.6 kilograms of heroin, 4.1 kilograms of fentanyl, 177.2 kilograms of cocaine and 192.6 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, he said.  

On Oct. 20, the Mexican navy informed U.S. officials of a suspicious vessel off the coast of Colima state, Mexico, Flynn said. The Mexican navy maneuvered six of its vessels to the suspicious vessel, then boarded it and discovered 1.1 metric tons of cocaine.   

A DOD official said that Mexican drug interdictions have been relatively low, and drug cartel violence remains at disturbingly high levels. "These organizations present a clear threat to Mexico and the Mexican government's ability to exert effective control over parts of its country."

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