U.S. Prepares to Target and Combat Mexican Drug Cartels

U.S. Prepares to Target and Combat Mexican Drug Cartels

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 12:22PM
[In late March] the U.S. Department of Justice outlined the increased efforts and reallocation of federal law enforcement personnel to combat Mexican drug cartels in the United States and to help Mexican law enforcement battle cartels in their own country.

Reports obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police reveal that a crisis condition exists at the US-Mexico border, with a death toll exceeding 6,000 people and that Mexican criminals possess massive firepower equal to — or surpassing — that of the Mexican military.

Deputy Attorney General David Ogden was joined in announcing a comprehensive response to the situation on the Southwest border by Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano and Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg.

“For more than a quarter century, U.S. law enforcement agencies have recognized that the best way to fight the most sophisticated and powerful criminal organizations is through intelligence-based investigations to target the greatest threats,” said Deputy Attorney General David Ogden.

“The Department’s Mexican Cartel Strategy confronts those cartels as criminal organizations. As we’ve found with other large criminal groups, if you take their money and lock up their leaders, you can loosen their grips on the vast organizations they use to carry out their criminal enterprises. The Department of Justice is committed to taking advantage of all available resources to target the Mexican cartels and to help our Mexican counterparts in their courageous effort to take on these criminal organizations.”

Officials alsoannouncedthat the USwill be investing $700 million this year in enhancing Mexican law enforcement and judicial capacity and working closely to coordinate efforts against the cartels. The Department of Justice — through the FBI; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS); and the Criminal Division and the Office of Justice Programs — will work to investigate and prosecute cartel members for their illegal activities in the United States and with law enforcement colleagues to disrupt illegal flows of weapons and bulk cash to Mexico.

The Mexican Cartel Strategy, led by the Deputy Attorney General, uses federal prosecutor-led task forces that bring together all law enforcement components to identify, disrupt and dismantle the Mexican drug cartels through investigation, prosecution, and extradition of their key leaders and facilitators and seizure and forfeiture of their assets. The Department is increasing its focus on investigations and prosecutions of the southbound smuggling of guns and cash that fuel the violence and corruption and attacking the cartels in Mexico itself, in partnership with the Mexican Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the Secretariat of Public Security (SSP).

DEA, already the largest U.S. drug enforcement presence in Mexico with 11 offices in that country, is placing 16 new positions in its Southwest border field divisions. With this increase, 29 percent of DEA’s domestic agent positions (1,180 agents) are now allocated to its Southwest border field divisions. DEA is also forming four additional Mobile Enforcement Teams (METs) to specifically target Mexican methamphetamine trafficking operations and associated violence, both along the border and in U.S. cities impacted by the cartels.

ATF is increasing its efforts by relocating 100 personnel to the Houston Field Division in the next 45 days as part of a new ATF intelligence-driven effort known as Gunrunner Impact Teams (GRITs). The teams will focus ATF’s violent crime-fighting and firearms trafficking expertise, along with its regulatory authority and strategic partnerships, to combat violence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The FBI is stepping up its efforts along the Southwest border by creating a Southwest Intelligence Group that will serve as a clearinghouse of all FBI activities involving Mexico. The FBI will also increase its focus on public corruption, kidnappings, and extortion related to Southwest border issues.

Already, the FBI has undertaken initiatives in Mexico and Central America, including the Central American Fingerprint Exchange initiative. The FBI will continue this initiative, which was developed to collect, store, and integrate biometric data from El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and the Mexican state of Chiapas into a central database accessible to US law enforcement, as well as the Transnational Anti-Gang initiative, which coordinates the sharing of gang intelligence between the US and El Salvador.

The USMS has stepped-up its efforts along the Southwest border, deploying 94 additional Deputy US Marshals during the last eight months and sending four additional deputies to Mexico City to assist the Marshals Service Mexico City Foreign Field Office.

The USMS is increasing its efforts in the Southwest border region under the Mexico Investigative Liaison Program, a cross-border violent fugitive apprehension initiative where USMS personnel, through daily contact with Mexican law enforcement, provide a rapid international response to law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border in the apprehension of fugitives who commit crimes and flee across the international border.

Twenty-five new Criminal Investigators-Asset Forfeiture Specialists have been placed in USMS asset forfeiture units in the field. The new positions are unique in that they will be solely dedicated to the USMS Asset Forfeiture Division and will support U.S. Attorneys Offices and investigative agencies in investigations of cartels and other large-scale investigations.

In addition, DOJ’s Organized Drug Enforcement Task Forces Program (OCDETF) is adding analyst personnel to its strike force capacity along the Southwest border, and the Office of Justice Programs will be investing $30 million in stimulus funding to assist with state and local law enforcement to combat narcotics activity coming through the southern border and in high intensity drug trafficking areas. State and local law enforcement organizations along the border can apply for COPS and Byrne Justice Assistance grants from the $3 billion provided for those programs in the stimulus package.

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By: leadfoot072 (694.82)

Tags: mexican drug cartels

Location: Newark, NJ, USA

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