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The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.

Mexico

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.

Challenges

Addressing the security and public health challenges posed by the illegal drug trade requires strong U.S.-Mexico cooperation. Of the more than 71,000 deaths from drug overdoses in the United States in 2019, over half involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl and approximately 20 percent involved heroin, according to preliminary data. Transnational criminal organizations exacerbate the U.S. drug epidemic by trafficking heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine from Mexico and cocaine from Colombia into the United States. Beyond drug trafficking, Mexican criminal groups increasingly profit from other criminal activity including fuel theft, human smuggling, extortion, and kidnapping. Transnational crime undermines border security, disrupts markets, corrupts institutions, and poses grave threats to national security and our partners in the region.

Goals

To confront these threats, the United States leverages foreign assistance and diplomacy with Mexico to reduce the impact of illicit drugs on U.S. communities, dismantle criminal organizations, help Mexico manage migration, and improve the effectiveness of Mexico’s criminal justice to better prevent, investigate, and prosecute crime. By focusing on building capacity across Mexico’s criminal justice system, INL assistance supports a comprehensive and sustainable approach to improve security for the long term. INL’s goals in Mexico are:

  1. Reduce Drug Cultivation and Production: The United States and Mexico work together to reduce the supply of drugs to the United States with projects that support Mexico’s efforts to eradicate opium poppy, dismantle clandestine drug laboratories, and better track shipments of the precursor chemicals used to produce illicit drugs in Mexico.
  2. Secure Borders and Ports and Increase Drug Interdictions: INL strengthens our shared border security by providing training and equipment to Mexican agencies to disrupt the movement of weapons, cash, and drugs. INL assistance enhances U.S.-Mexican coordination against transnational threats.
  3. Disrupt Illicit Finance: INL projects deny transnational criminal organizations access to the illicit proceeds of their criminal activities by building Mexico’s capacity to investigate networks and seize criminal assets.
  4. Professionalize Police: INL helps enhance public security in Mexico by supporting Mexico’s efforts to promote accountability, professionalism, integrity, respect for human rights, and adherence to due process among the country’s law enforcement officials.
  5. Reduce Impunity: INL strengthens Mexico’s rule of law by helping Mexican law enforcement and justice institutions and officials work together to build and present strong legal cases against organized crime, corruption, money laundering, and trafficking.

Accomplishments: INL assistance in Mexico has strengthened bilateral partnerships across a broad range of Mexican and U.S. law enforcement agencies, judicial officials, and civil society leaders. Due to INL support, Mexican and U.S. officials share information and work together to dismantle illicit drug trafficking and bring criminals to justice. INL assistance has adapted to emerging threats in both countries and provides a model for sustained security cooperation, including with countries across the hemisphere.

  • INL-Donated Canines Interdict Drugs, Guns, and Cash: Since 2011, donated canine units led to the seizure of more than 23 tons of narcotics, including 30 kilograms of fentanyl powder; more than 30,000 fentanyl pills; 56,000 guns, gun parts, and rounds of ammunition; and $12 million in smuggled cash.
  • Improved U.S.-Mexico Information Sharing Enables Coordinated Operations Against Transnational Crime: Mexico shares biometric information with U.S. law enforcement to identify individuals with criminal convictions and extradition warrants. U.S. Marshalls and their INL-trained Mexican counterparts work together to arrest high priority drug traffickers and U.S. fugitives.
  • Mexico Adopts Accreditation Standards as National Policy for Forensic Labs and Prisons: After INL provided technical assistance, equipment, mentoring, and training tohelp Mexico achieve accreditation of forensic labs and prisons, the Government of Mexico rallied support to sustain this progress and allocated Mexican federal subsidies toward the continued accreditation of state forensics labs and prisons, which will ensurethe ability of states to maintain accreditation independent of U.S. support.

U.S. Department of State

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