The flow of illicit narcotics across the U.S. border with Mexico threatens people in both countries. Heroin and fentanyl-laced heroin is a public health crisis in the United States, said Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Daniel Foote, and Mexican drug trafficking organizations are the primary suppliers of heroin to the United States.
“We must aggressively respond to this growing threat,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Foote in recent Congressional testimony, by countering all illicit drugs and ending the impunity with which trafficking organizations are able to operate, putting their leaders in jail, seizing their weapons, drugs, and money and dismantling their illicit business.
Through the Merida Initiative – a partnership in which the U.S. works with Mexico to build the capacity of Mexican institutions to counter organized crime, uphold the rule of law, and protect the shared border from the movement of illicit drugs, money, and goods – the U.S. has provided nearly 1.5 billion dollars in assistance to Mexico. This includes training and equipment that complements Mexico’s efforts.
The Department of Justice is partnering with State Department to build the skills of prosecutors, investigators, and forensic experts in Mexico. Through Merida, the U.S. is helping enhance federal, state, and municipal policing capacity throughout Mexico. The continued professionalization of Mexican law enforcement will result in greater accountability for civil and human rights, increasing trust in these institutions by the people of Mexico.
Strengthening border security on the Mexican border is a priority for both the U.S. and Mexico. The State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs has provided more than 125 million dollars in inspection equipment and more than 340 canine teams deployed at ports of entry, border crossings, and internal checkpoints throughout Mexico.
Through Merida, the U.S. continues to make progress with Mexico in targeting heroin production and trafficking.
Building an effective justice sector in Mexico capable of confronting organized crime and the associated violence and corruption will be a long-term challenge. It is only with a concerted effort that the capacity to deter the cultivation, production, and trafficking of heroin and other illicit drugs in Mexico will be strengthened. The U.S. is committed to staying the course with Mexico and winning the fight against illicit drug trafficking.