September 15th, 2006 13:39 EST
First Mexican Law Enforcement Officials Graduate
On September 7, 2006, DEA completed its first ever clandestine methamphetamine laboratory safety training class for Mexican law enforcement officers conducted at the DEA Training Academy in Quantico, VA. Forty-nine officers from the Mexican-based Federal Preventive Police (PFP) and 6 prosecutors from the Federal Organized Crime Division Prosecutors (SIEDO) received a month-long course as part of the anti-methamphetamine initiative announced in May at the National Methamphetamine and Chemicals Initiative (NCMI) Strategy Conference by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.
“With this graduation, both the United States and Mexico take a big step forward in our fight against meth,” said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy. “DEA happily shared our expertise with our partners—better equipping Mexican law enforcement in our historic effort to jointly combat meth production and trafficking that is devastating both nations. We look forward to hearing about their successes soon.”
As numerous states and the Federal government have recently enacted legislation to restrict access to pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, large scale production of methamphetamine has become an increasing problem in Mexico. Today, approximately 80% of the methamphetamine consumed in the United States is manufactured by Mexican controlled drug trafficking organizations based in the U.S and Mexico.
At the NMCI conference in May, Attorney General Gonzalez and Administrator Tandy were joined by Mexican Attorney General Daniel Cabeza De Vaca and Office of National Drug Control Policy Director John Walters as the Attorney General unveiled Department of Justice-led initiatives aimed at addressing aggressive enforcement, increased law enforcement training, expanded information-sharing, and increased public awareness both domestically and with U.S./Mexico anti-trafficking efforts.
The training is part of a larger agreement between DEA and the Government of Mexico (GOM) to establish specialized methamphetamine enforcement teams on both sides of the border. In Mexico, these Mexican enforcement teams will focus on investigating and targeting the most wanted Mexican methamphetamine drug trafficking organizations in five meth hot spots in the Mexican states of Sinaloa, Michoacan, Jalisco, Sonora, and Baja California Norte.
The PFP, with a staff of 22,000, is responsible for the highways, airports and seaports in Mexico. By providing training to DEA’s Mexican counterparts DEA will help the GOM identify every step necessary for the production and manufacture of meth, as well as assist them in effectively dismantling meth labs, which are a threat to the community and environment. The identification of precursor chemicals is another necessary step in the investigation of meth trafficking organizations – without the chemicals the trafficking organizations can’t produce the drug.
The training covered the latest techniques in clandestine lab detection, enforcement, chemical identification.
In addition, since July 2006, DEA has trained over 300 Mexican officials in Mexico City on precursor chemical investigations and clan lab familiarization. This training will continue into October 2006, with an additional 50 Mexican officers.
DEA-led efforts on the U.S. side will focus on the methamphetamine traffickers and organizations transporting and distributing the finished methamphetamine being produced in Mexico, and attacking the money-laundering operations of these organizations.