08/13/11 – A new level of collaboration between the United States and Mexico has been reached with the implementation of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents, and retired military personnel into Mexico as additional support for combating drug trafficking. For the first time, security officials of both countries are gathering information about drug-related organized crime and collaborating on operations to combat it. The CIA and DEA have reportedly been conducting operations in Mexico after Mexican President Felipe Calderón requested help to reestablish security in Monterrey, Nuevo León. The agencies’ agendas in Mexico were designed to comply with international laws and the Merida Initiative.
However, the announcement of the bi-national collaboration has led many to express concern over a possible threat to Mexico’s autonomy. Mexico’s Congress has demanded that an explanation of the operation be given. As stated by the Green Ecological Party of Mexico (Partido Verde Ecologista de México. PVEM), the government has to “clarify and explain the participation of U.S. agents in anti-narcotics matters within the [Mexican] national territory.” Members from the federal government will reportedly present before Congress prior to September 1. For his part, Alejandro Poiré, the technical secretary of National Security (Secretario Tecnico de Seguridad Nacional) maintained that there is “respect of sovereignty” as U.S. government agents working in Mexico are unarmed and because the “exchange of information happens exclusively between federal authorities of both countries.” President Obama agreed and added that the United States is “only providing assistance to help President Calderón meet his objectives.”
El Universal reported that the exchange of such information between agents and authorities has led to the arrest of at least 30 high-profile drug dealers in the past few years. According to the New York Times, Mexico’s drug cartels provide for 80% of illegal drugs consumed in the United States. For that reason, increased efforts to fight organized crime within the past three years have placed Mexico over Colombia and Afghanistan as recipients of U.S. aid.