U.S. Agent Says Mexico Corruption Harms Drug War

U.S. Agent Says Mexico Corruption Harms Drug War
Posted by FoM on February 24, 1999 at 14:47:47 PT

WASHINGTON The United States' top anti-narcotics cop Wednesday said widespread corruption in Mexico's police was hampering efforts to stop illegal drugs flowing across the border onto U.S. streets. 
The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Thomas Constantine, told a Senate hearing Mexican drug cartels have more money and firepower today in the United States than the Mafia ever did in its heyday. Since the mid-1990's, powerful organized crime syndicates based in Mexico have begun to dominate the distribution of drugs in virtually every community of the United States, the DEA chief said. Mexican drug lords ship tons of cocaine and other drugs into the United States, collect billions of dollars in profits and order the assassination of witnesses at will, he said. Their power to bribe Mexican officials is also unbridled, the DEA administrator said. "The corruption in Mexico's civilian law enforcement institutions is unparalleled by anything I have seen in my 39 years as a policeman," the DEA administrator said. Constantine spoke to a group of senators who are mostly skeptical of Mexico's efforts to combat drug traffickers, just two days before the Clinton Administration is expected to give its annual approval of Mexican cooperation in the drug war. The DEA chief said drug-related corruption had been discovered in recent months in Mexico's Organized Crime Unit, specially set up to go after drug barons with U.S. trained and vetted agents, some of whom failed polygraphs tests. "Such corruption has damaged drug investigations in which the DEA provided support to the vetted units," he said. Constantine said this was a major setback in rebuilding Mexican police units free of corruption. A U.S. State Department official admitted U.S. supplied intelligence information may have been compromised. Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics Affairs, Randy Beers, told the Senate Drug Caucus hearing that 14 members of an elite Airmobile Special Forces Group assigned to Mexico City airport were arrested in August on charges of drug trafficking. Among other setbacks in 1998, Beers said most of the law enforcement personnel dismissed for corruption had been reinstated under Mexico's strong labor laws. He also said cultivation of opium poppy increased last year in Mexico, which now produces 14 percent of the heroin consumed in the United States, according to the DEA. The DEA said two thirds of the cocaine used in the United States enters the country from South America via Mexico, while almost a third of the heroin is moved by Mexican traffickers. Senators were puzzled that seizures of cocaine were 37 percent less in 1998 than a year before, while heroin seizures had fallen 56 percent. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein said Mexico had not extradited a single one of the Mexicans wanted by the United States on drug charges. In particular, she pointed to the Amezcua brothers, the so-called "kings of methamphetamines" who were arrested in June for running one of the world's largest smuggling rings of the synthetic drug, a cheap alternative to cocaine. Charges against Luis and Jesus Amezcua were dismissed by a Mexican court and Mexican authorities are still holding them thanks to a U.S. request for their provisional arrest. Senators said drug corruption had reached high levels of the Mexican government, and pointed at Mario Villanueva, governor of the state of Quintana Roo and a top member of Mexico's ruling Institutional revolutionary Party. "He remains at the head of a narco-state," said Feinstein of Villanueva, who has denied any links to the cartels but is under investigation by President Ernesto Zedillo's government. President Clinton is expected to "certify" Mexico on Friday as a reliable partner in the drug war among 28 countries considered to be major narcotics producers or transit nations. Beers said the White House would only blacklist Mexico if it believed that the Zedillo government was directly liked to the drug traffic, which it does not. 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #2 posted by Terry O'Neill on March 09, 2001 at 12:07:08 PT:
Tom Constantine
Whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit that he's a man of integrity.
Constantine's Circus, Inc.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by BigAb on February 25, 1999 at 04:42:33 PT
Corruption ???
Maybe it's just me BUT I'd say we have our OWN fair shareof corrupt cops on this side of the border !!!!Do you really swollow the B.S. of tons of drugs crossingthe border without being seen ???????The government won't legalise because it would throw oureconomy to crap and would "lay off" a bunch of smart-asscollage boys who have waited their whole life to play "Junior G-Man".............. "I guess you kinda know your goose is cooked when they say"don't like it ? Change the law !!Hey, Goons the law is changed!!!! But the persucution goes on............Makes me sad at time to be an American, which is truely a shame
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: