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Media 081114 Agents

Monday, August 11, 2014

 

A 60 percent Decrease in the Number of U.S. Government Agents in Mexico

 

Gustavo Castillo García (La Jornada)

 

The United States government has reduced the number of agents in Mexico who are responsible for anti-drug operations (DEA, Drug Enforcement Administration); illegal trafficking of goods and firearms (ATF, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives); espionage, such as the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency); or arrests and functions assigned to U.S. Marshals and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) by 60 percent, Mexican National Security Cabinet officials revealed.

 

The sources noted that conditions during the administrations of presidents Vicente Fox [2000-2006], and Felipe Calderón [2006-2012], have changed from having open doors in Mexican institutions in order to perform their duties, and even supervise or participate in actions against organized crime, to having very few interlocutors and [those] conditioned to exchanging information.

 

Thus, Mexican institutions are no longer allowing the involvement or participation of U.S. agents in actions like the destruction of illicit crop fields, the interrogation of alleged drug trafficking leaders, or integration into police groups when they make an arrest.

 

However, the officials interviewed said that the U.S. Government continues its investigations or espionage operations from the so-called Binational Mérida Initiative Center (also known, among national officials and those at the U.S. Embassy, as the Binational Intelligence Office, the OBI), and an espionage office in a hotel close to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

 

Those interviewed pointed out, as an example, that in the office of the Attorney General of the Republic, its head, Jesus Murillo Karam, has become the only contact of the U.S. agents. He has ordered access closed to personnel of the DEA, ATF, ICE, and FBI to the Sub-Attorneys General Office Specializing in the Investigation of Organized Crime (SEIDO), and determined that any and all inquiries will be handled by him directly.

 

In the Navy (SEMAR) and National Defense (SEDENA) secretariats, methods of cooperation have been modified, and while international agencies provide training courses for Mexican personnel there is no longer a permanent presence in their facilities. They are served by commands established by the heads of both institutions, and the exchanges of information provided, for example on the use of unmanned aircraft (drones), decreased in such a way that the SEDENA is now responsible for all activities.

 

The reduction of U.S. agents (from 600 to 200) who came to Mexico between 2001 and 2011, the sources said, entered mostly through links of the U.S. Embassy and its consulates in at least 12 states, and the total number was kept secret by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

Furthermore, those interviewed explained, agencies that during the administration of Felipe Calderón depended entirely on unmanned aircraft from the U.S. Government to follow some of their targets, and that just a few months ago helped to detain Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, have now developed or purchased their own [aircraft], but this is kept secret.

 

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"Disminuye Estados Unidos 60% número de agentes en sus oficinas de México," La Jornada, Aug. 10, 2014; translation (edited) by MexiData.info

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