Drug Czar Inspects Mexican Project

Drug Czar Inspects Mexican Project
Posted by FoM on February 10, 2000 at 19:05:56 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: New York Times
U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey witnessed the perseverance of drug traffickers Thursday as he inspected Mexican efforts to guard borders against drug shipments. A small plane disguised with military markings and loaded with a half-ton of cocaine, flew into Mexican airspace about 30 miles from where McCaffrey was in the city of Huixtla, near the Guatemalan border. 
Federal police seized the four-seat Cessna 210 after it landed at a small airfield. They found the cocaine and arrested the two Colombian pilots. Police believe the plane came from Colombia. ``You see, relatively infrequently, aircraft flying out of Colombia try and get into southern Mexico,'' McCaffrey said later to The Associated Press. He added that traffickers are trying other routes in the face of what he called ``a deterrence wall against cocaine and heroin smuggling'' being built in Mexico. ``We're doing pretty well in the air,'' he said. ``They (traffickers) are already reading this situation, and they're landing in Guatemala, El Salvador, or shipping by ferry and air into Panama.'' Spurred by U.S. criticism of it's anti-drug efforts -- and concerns about growing domestic drug use and violence -- Mexico is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to install large X-ray units to detect drug shipments at its Guatemalan border. Mexico has also mounted a land, sea and air campaign involving about 20,000 military personnel to patrol the country's Caribbean coast and intercept drug shipments flown in, or dropped from planes into the sea to be picked up by waiting boats. McCaffrey, the top U.S. anti-drug policy official, praised the program. ``In my judgment in the next five years this strategy will work in a significant way,'' he said. ``We've got to go look at where these people (traffickers) are going to go next.'' Earlier, McCaffrey said about 55 percent of the cocaine used in the United States is still shipped through Mexico. He said better intelligence-sharing on the tracking and interception of drug flights -- and especially drug-laden boats -- is still needed. Throughout his three-day visit to Mexico, McCaffrey has stressed that cooperation between the two countries is key in fighting the drug trade. ``This is only the beginning,'' McCaffrey said. ``There is a strong belief in the hemisphere that we must work in partnership to protect our people'' against drugs. Huixtla, Mexico (AP) Published: February 10, 2000Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company CannabisNews Search & Archives of McCaffrey Related Articles:
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