DALLAS – Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today announced new anti-methamphetamine domestic initiatives as well as new partnerships between the U.S. and Mexico in fighting meth trafficking at the National Methamphetamine and Chemicals Initiative(NCMI) Strategy Conference.
Joined by Mexican Attorney General Daniel Cabeza De Vaca and Office of National Drug Control Policy Director John Walters, Attorney General Gonzales unveiled Department of Justice-led initiatives aimed at addressing improved enforcement, increased law enforcement training, improved information-sharing, and increased public awareness both domestically and with U.S./Mexico anti-trafficking efforts. The NCMI Strategy Conference, held May 17 and 18, 2006, brings together approximately 300 federal, state and local investigators and agents, prosecutors, intelligence analysts, and government chemists from across the country whose primary responsibilities are methamphetamine and chemical enforcement. Karen Tandy, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration; and Julie Myers, Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement also made remarks at the conference.
“These initiatives represent a policy of true mutual cooperation that will put meth use and all its horrors firmly on the road to extinction,” said Attorney General Gonzales. “If we work together, sharing resources and intelligence, the law enforcement agencies of our two countries can better attack the problem at every stage in the production and distribution chain.”
U.S./Mexico Partnership Among the U.S./Mexico partnership efforts is an agreement between the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Government of Mexico to establish specialized methamphetamine enforcement teams on either side of the border. In Mexico, these teams will focus on investigating and targeting the most wanted Mexican methamphetamine drug trafficking organizations, while DEA-led efforts on the U.S. side will focus on the methamphetamine traffickers and organizations transporting and distributing the finished methamphetamine being produced in Mexico.
Other initiatives that are part of the U.S./Mexico partnership include:
A new DEA and Customs and Border Protection Service focus on ports of interest within the United States targeting suspicious cargo that is likely to be related to methamphetamine trafficking organizations;
A Binational Law Enforcement Working Group that will focus on methamphetamine production and trafficking from both an enforcement and intelligence perspective;
The DEA and the Mexican Cenapi will further share intelligence information and continue to develop stronger working relationships. Such collaborative efforts will focus on investigating large-scale meth trafficking organizations that are operating in Mexico and the United States.
An agreement between the DEA Office of Diversion Control and Mexico’s chemical regulatory agency, COFEPRIS, to a personnel exchange in which chemical regulatory experts from within each agency will be embedded within the other’s agency for a specific period to observe, learn best practices, and then implement joint strategies complimentary to both regulatory agencies;
A bilateral leadership planning conference this summer in Mexico aimed at reducing methamphetamine production and demand, and improving targeting efforts;
Six DEA trucks used in clandestine lab enforcement operations that have been refurbished and donated to Mexico to be used by the above referenced specialized Mexican enforcement teams; and
New DEA-led training for nearly 1000 Mexican police officials in a variety of locations throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Central America on a variety of investigative, enforcement and regulatory methods related to methamphetamine trafficking.
U.S. Efforts Domestic Efforts will focus on a redirection of DEA clan lab enforcement teams. The significant reduction in domestic small toxic labs will allow these teams to refocus their efforts at targeting Mexican methamphetamine trafficking organizations by tracing chemicals, finished methamphetamine and proceeds to organizational leaders in the U.S. and Mexico rather than merely locating and cleaning up labs. An additional focus of these teams will be to identify and dismantle U.S.-based transportation and distribution cells.
Other domestic initiatives announced include:
A national listing on the DEA Web site of the addresses of properties in which methamphetamine labs or chemical dumpsites have been found. The registry will provide owners or renters with notice that a property may once have been used to produce methamphetamine and that there may be potential toxic hazards within the property.
A new clandestine lab training facility at the DEA Academy in Quantico, Va. will be established in the fall of 2006. At this facility, DEA will train US and foreign law enforcement officials on the latest techniques in clandestine lab detection, enforcement, and safety in a state-of-the-art facility.