The United States is experiencing a serious drug addiction and abuse problem. In 2016, some 64,000 Americans died of drug overdoses from both legal and illegal narcotics. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, outnumbering both traffic crashes and gun-related deaths.
Much of the illegal narcotics are smuggled into the United States from Mexico by powerful transnational criminal organizations. These organizations are highly organized, complex enterprises, whose business model of selling drugs in the United States is resilient and immensely profitable.
Mexico is also deeply afflicted by these criminal organizations. These organizations have become increasingly violent in the past decade, ravaging entire towns and villages, preventing the government from functioning to the best of its ability, and targeting journalists to stifle freedom of the press.
“This is a grave problem that our countries share. Deaths related to transnational criminal organizations and from the drugs they peddle affect communities on both sides of our border,” said Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan at the December 14 U.S. – Mexico Strategic Dialogue on Disrupting Transnational Criminal Organizations. “Close collaboration is the only way we can tackle a problem that has no regard for international borders.”
“Eleven U.S. law enforcement agencies are represented in the U.S. embassy and consulates across Mexico to work closely with their Mexican state and federal counterparts. And through the Merida Initiative, we’re helping to build the capacity of Mexican law enforcement and judicial institutions.”
The United States and Mexico have also increased cross-border communications and coordination to improve the efficiency and efficacy of their security cooperation. Both countries are exploring ways to disrupt the financial flows of transnational criminal organizations and target those involved in the drug trade at each stage of the process.
Additionally the United States is working to minimize the drug demand that fuels these criminal organizations to smuggle, distribute, and sell for profit.
Transnational criminal organizations present some of the gravest threats to U.S. security today, said U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. For that reason, “Detecting, deterring, and dismantling these [networks] continues to be of utmost importance to the Trump Administration,” she said.
“The United States is proud to call Mexico its partner in targeting this threat in production and distribution networks not only throughout Mexico and the United States, but throughout Central America. Together we can be leaders in the entire region to combat this threat.”