Tags: Mexico | Trump Administration | cartels | drug wars | opioids | intelligence

Senior Intel Officials: Cartel Wars Getting Worse in Mexico

Senior Intel Officials: Cartel Wars Getting Worse in Mexico
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats (Rex Features/AP)

By    |   Monday, 19 February 2018 06:53 PM

Mexico's cartel wars are getting worse despite the increased presence of military and federal police in the streets, according to senior intelligence officials.  At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday, officials said criminal groups have proliferated since President Enrique Pena Nieto reignited the country's kingpin strategy after he took office in 2012, causing a problem for both the U.S. and Mexico.

The homicide rate went up 27 percent in 2017 in Mexico, making it the deadliest year in the country's modern history, and heroin and fentanyl entering the U.S. from Mexico continues to be a thorn for the U.S. as it battles an opioid epidemic.

"Clearly we have a continuing problem and the Mexican government has a problem relative to gangs and organizations," Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, said during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on global threats last Monday.

"There are high profile arrests lately. We have taken down some labs. Mexico is cooperating and they themselves will admit it is almost overwhelming, their Army has been participating, almost overwhelming to control the situation south of the border. We have our own issues on border protection as well as consumption in the United States."

Mexican heroin accounted for 93 percent of heroin tested in the U.S. in 2016, and Mexico's opium production more than tripled between 2013 and 2016, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. An estimated 100,000 Mexicans died from drug-related violence from 2006 to 2016, according to the DEA, and the CDC estimated 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, including 20,000 who ingested synthetic opioids, including fentanyl.

What has "transpired over the last couple of years is you had five principal cartels; we alluded to the number of captures [of cartel leaders] that had taken place, over 100," Robert Ashley, director of the defense intelligence agency, said at the Senate committee hearing. "Those five cartels have kind of devolved into 20, and [as] part of that outgrowth, you've seen an increase in the level of violence."

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Senior U.S. intelligence officials advise Mexico's cartel wars are getting worse, causing a problem for both the U.S. and Mexico.
cartels, drug wars, opioids, intelligence
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2018-53-19
Monday, 19 February 2018 06:53 PM
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