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Source Countries and
Drug Transit Zones: Mexico

Quick Facts

In 2007, Mexican authorities extradited 83 fugitives to the United States, twenty more than in 2006. For the first time, Mexico extradited several high-level traffickers, including Osiel Cardenas Guillen, the leader of the Gulf cartel. Source

At the North American Leaders Summit in August 2007 the President highlighted the intent of the United States to work in close partnership with Mexico to combat the illegal drug business that threatens both nations: "I would not be committed to dealing with this if I wasn't convinced that President Calderón had the will and the desire to protect his people from narcotraffickers. He has shown great leadership and great strength of character . . . ."

The Merida Initiative, a multiyear security cooperation program, is designed to enhance U.S., Mexican, and Central American enforcement capabilities while also expanding regional cooperation.

Mexico has already taken bold action against the drug threat. Mexican President Felipe Calderón made his intentions clear shortly after taking office in December 2006 with the unprecedented extradition of more than a dozen major drug traffickers and other criminals, including CPOT Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, the notorious leader of the violent Gulf Cartel. This breakthrough in bilateral judicial cooperation continued throughout 2007, with a record 83 extraditions by year's end, far surpassing the previous record of 63 for the entire calendar year of 2006.

President Calderón's battle against drug trafficking organizations has not been limited to the courtroom. The Government of Mexico has employed forces from seven government agencies, spending in excess of $2.5 billion in 2007 (a 24 percent increase over spending levels in 2006) to improve security and reduce drug-related violence. Mexico has deployed more than 12,000 military troops to over a dozen Mexican States. Anticorruption initiatives and institutional reforms by the Mexican Government have enhanced the DEA's ability to share sensitive information and conduct joint investigations. Joint operations on both sides of the border caused traffickers to hold or redirect the movement of drugs and money, thus allowing law enforcement to intercept and make arrests.

It is essential that the United States does all that it can to partner with Mexico as it aggressively counters the drug trafficking threat. The United States Government recognizes the role that weapons purchased in the United States often play in the narcoviolence that has been plaguing Mexico. The ATF is working with Mexican authorities to enhance the use of ATF's eTrace program in Mexico, which allows investigators to electronically trace firearms recovered at crime scenes. Cooperation through eTrace greatly facilitates the interdiction of arms smuggled into Mexico and will strengthen investigations into the sources of illegal weapons.

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