Urgent agreements between the DEA and Mexico are needed to end the Sisyphean myth

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DEA The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has just identified the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) cartels as responsible for the worst drug crisis in the history of the United States.

That is, the deaths from fentanyl overdoses, which reached 38,000 in the first half of 2023, will continue along the path of reproaches about what is or is not done on Mexican territory to prevent the crossing of various substances north of the Rio Grande.

The U.S. anti-drug agency describes the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels as organizations with high logistical capacity that have diversified their activities beyond drug manufacturing to participate in arms trafficking, extortion, and human trafficking, expanding markets to Europe, Africa, and Oceania.

It is an accusation that was predictable but will impact the relationship with Mexican authorities.

Half a century ago, dismissing the conclusions of the Shafer Commission, which saw more risks in alcohol consumption than in marijuana, Richard Nixon announced the war on drugs.

This determination, as is known, has had repercussions over the decades, and its consequences are still suffered because the idea that prohibition can yield results continues to prevail, although it is concluded year after year that this is not the case.

The repercussions of the DEA Report will become visible during the presidential campaign and will have a concrete landing once the next president arrives at the White House, whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

Therefore, it would be a mistake to underestimate what this could imply, as such announcements tend to increase pressures around strategies to combat transnational criminal groups.

In its 2024 National Drug Threat Assessment, the DEA makes disturbing revelations about the porosity of Mexican customs at seaports.

The Sinaloa cartel is introducing chemical precursors for fentanyl manufacturing through front companies, false labeling of shipments, and intermediaries making purchases in China.

The products arrive at Pacific ports and from there are channeled to clandestine laboratories, especially in Sinaloa.

The DEA describes the cartel’s leadership and ensures that there are divisions between the sons of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, although they maintain an umbrella organization.

Regarding the CJNG, they add that the leadership of Rubén Oseguera “El Mencho” is supported by a group of lieutenants who in turn oversee the work carried out by specific cells in each plaza, like a sort of franchise, which allows them not to assume the cost of operations but to obtain a percentage of what is generated.

Both criminal organizations work with gangs in the United States, which are in charge of street sales, but they also use digital platforms to generate sales points and reduce the risks of being captured by the police.

It’s like the never-ending story, although the DEA also reports that 3,337 people were arrested.

We will soon know what use will be made of the Report, both in law enforcement and politically.

Regarding the Mexican government, it would be interesting if, in addition to the multiple reproaches that can be made to the document, the search for lasting agreements to address a problem that belongs to both nations and to end what seems to be the Sisyphean condemnation was added.

Source: Forbes