William E. Ledwith
Chief of International Operations
Drug Enforcement Administration
United States Department of Justice
Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources
Date: February 29, 2000
Chairman Mica, Congresswoman Mink and distinguished members of the Subcommittee: I appreciate this opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee today to discuss the issue of the U.S. and Mexican Counter-narcotics efforts. I would like first to thank the Subcommittee for its continued support of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and overall support of drug law enforcement. My testimony today will provide you with an objective assessment of the law enforcement issues surrounding the drug threat posed by international drug trafficking organizations operating from Mexico. These criminal organizations based in Mexico pose the greatest challenge to U.S. law enforcement agencies charged with enforcing narcotics laws. Due to the ever-increasing legitimate cross-border traffic and commerce between the U.S. and Mexico, several international organized crime groups have established elaborate smuggling infrastructures on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border. Furthermore, it has long been established that in addition to drug trafficking, these international criminal organizations spawn violence, corruption, and intimidation that threaten the safety and stability of our cities and towns across America.
The complex and sophisticated international drug trafficking groups operating out of Mexico are oftentimes vicious, destructive entities, that operate on a global scale. The four largest drug trafficking organizations in Mexico --- operating out of Guadalajara, Juarez, Mexicali, Tijuana, Sonora, and the Gulf region --- under the auspices of Vicente Carrillo-Fuentes, Armando Valencia-Cornelio, Miguel Caro-Quintero, Ramon and Benjamin Arellano-Felix, and Osiel Cardenas-Guillen are in many ways, the 1990's versions of the mob leaders and groups that U.S. law enforcement has fought against since the beginning of last century. These international organized crime leaders, however, are far more dangerous, far more influential and have a greater impact on our day-to-day lives than did their domestic predecessors.
Those international traffickers and their organizations make operational decisions from places like Sonora, Mexico and other locations outside U.S. borders, which detrimentally affect the quality of life of our citizens and directly support drug-related crime in cities and towns across our country. These groups have reached new levels of sophistication and have become a threat not only to the United States and Europe, but also to their own countries. Their power and influence are unprecedented. Unless innovative, flexible, multi-faceted responses are crafted, these drug trafficking organizations threaten to grow even more powerful in the years to come.
The Damage to the United States:
In order to understand the extent and nature of the damage caused by international drug trafficking organizations, it is crucial to look at how these organizations work, and how they infiltrate and position themselves in U.S. communities in order to further their goals.
On any given day in the United States, business transactions are being arranged between the major drug lords headquartered in Mexico and their surrogates who have established roots within the United States, for the shipment, storage and distribution of tons of illicit drugs. In the past, Mexico-based criminal organizations limited their activities to the cultivation of marijuana and opium poppies for subsequent production of marijuana and heroin. The organizations were also relied upon by Colombian drug lords to transport loads of cocaine into the United States, and to pass on this cocaine to other organizations who distributed the product throughout the U.S. However, over the past several years, Mexico-based organized crime syndicates have gained increasing control over many of the aspects of the cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana trades, resulting in increased threats to the well-being of American citizens as well as government institutions and the citizens of their own country.
In the recent past, traffickers from Mexico had maintained dominance in the western part of the United States, and in some Midwest cities. Today, the Drug Enforcement Administration, along with other law enforcement agencies, developed evidence leading to indictments demonstrating that associates of organized crime groups based in Mexico have established themselves on the East Coast of the United States, thus becoming significant participants in the nationwide drug trade.
Mexican Traffickers Rise to Prominence:
During 1995 and 1996, intense law enforcement pressure was focused on the Cali leadership by the brave men and women of the Colombian National Police. As a result, all of the top trafficking leaders from Cali were either jailed or killed. During that time frame, U.S. law enforcement agencies were effectively attacking Colombian cells operating within the United States. With the Cali leaders imprisoned in Colombia and the successful attacks by law enforcement on their U.S. cells, traffickers from Mexico took on greater prominence. A growing alliance between the Colombian traffickers and the organizations from Mexico worked to benefit both sides. Traffickers from Mexico had long been involved in smuggling marijuana, heroin, and cocaine across the U.S.-Mexico border, using established distribution routes to deliver drugs throughout the United States. The Mexico-based organizations' emergence as major methamphetamine producers and traffickers also contributed to making them a major force in international drug trafficking. The Mexican traffickers, who were previously paid in cash by the Colombian traffickers for their services, began to routinely receive up to one-half of a shipment of cocaine as their payment. This led to Mexican traffickers having access to multi-ton quantities of cocaine and allowed them to expand their markets and influence in the United States, thereby making them formidable cocaine traffickers in their own right.
With the disruption of the Cali syndicate, Mexican groups such as the Amado Carrillo-Fuentes organization, the Arellano-Felix cartel, the Amezcua-Contreras brothers, and the Caro-Quintero group, consolidated their power and began to dominate drug trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border and in many U.S. cities. Recent events in Mexico and along the southwest border emphasize the fact that trafficking groups from Mexico have developed into a significant force in international organized crime.
Overview of Narcotics Smuggled along the U.S./Mexican Border:
Recent estimates indicate that approximately 55% of the cocaine available in the United States is transported across the U.S.-Mexico border. Typically, large cocaine shipments are transported from Colombia, via commercial shipping, fishing and "Go-fast" boats and off-loaded in Mexico. The cocaine is transported through Mexico, usually by trucks, where it is warehoused in cities like Guadalajara, Tijuana or Juarez, that are operating bases for the major criminal trafficking organizations. The extremely high volume of vehicular traffic over the U.S./Mexico border allows cocaine loads to be driven across the border and taken to major distribution centers within the U.S., such as Los Angeles, New Jersey, Chicago or Phoenix. Surrogates of the major drug lords wait for instructions, often provided over encrypted communications devices-- --phones, faxes, pagers or computers---telling them where to warehouse smaller loads, who to contact for transportation services, and who to return the eventual profits to. Individuals sent to the United States from Mexico and often here illegally, have been shown to have contracted with U.S. trucking establishments to move loads across the country. Once the loads arrive in an area that is close to the eventual terminal point, safehouses are established for workers who watch over the cocaine supplies and arrange for it to be distributed by wholesale dealers within the vicinity. These distributors have traditionally been Colombian nationals or individuals from the Dominican Republic, but recently, DEA has come upon evidence that Mexican trafficking organizations are also directly involved in cocaine distribution in New York City.
We have not only identified the drug lords themselves, but in most cases, the key members of their command and control structure. The combined efforts of the DEA, FBI, DOJ, the U.S. Customs Service and members of state and local police departments have resulted in the seizure of hundreds of tons of drugs, hundreds of millions of dollars in drug proceeds and most importantly, several significant indictments. In fact, some of the leaders of these organizations---Ramon and Benjamin Arellano-Felix, Jesus Amezcua-Contreras, Vicente Carrillo-Fuentes----have become familiar names in every major law enforcement department in the United States. Despite this evidence, along with the notoriety, these traffickers have continued to evade arrest and prosecution.
The primary reason they have been able to avoid arrest and continue their criminal enterprise is their ability to intimidate witnesses and assassinate and corrupt public officials. Clear examples of this point may be cited in recent efforts to apprehend members of the Arellano Felix cartel and the Cardenas Guillen cartel, based in Tijuana and Matamoros, Mexico, respectively. In Tijuana over the past year, Mexican officials, with support from the DEA, have unsuccessfully attempted to apprehend key traffickers working for the Arellano Felix organization. In November 1999, major Gulf cartel drug trafficker Osiel Cardenas Guillen illegally detained and assaulted two U.S. drug enforcement agents in Matamoros, Mexico, across the international border from Brownsville, Texas.
Methamphetamine traffickers, oftentimes associated with major Mexican organized crime groups, obtain the precursor chemicals necessary for methamphetamine production from sources in other countries, such as China and India, as well as from rogue chemical suppliers in the United States. In fact, Mexico-based transnational criminal organizations have become the most significant distributors in the U.S. of methamphetamine and its precursor chemicals. Several bulk ephedrine seizures destined for Mexico have focused attention on the magnitude of ephedrine acquisition by Mexican organized crime groups. Super methamphetamine labs, capable of producing hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine on a weekly basis, are established in Mexico or in California, where the methamphetamine is provided to traffickers to distribute across the United States.
These methamphetamine organizations based in Mexico also have well established, polydrug distribution networks in place throughout our country. The Mexican trafficking organizations have single-handedly created a new booming demand for methamphetamine, moving it in mass quantities eastward across the country-far beyond the traditional West and Southwest markets.
Heroin from Mexico now represents 14% of the heroin seized in the United States by federal authorities, and it is estimated that 43 metric tons of opium gum was produced in 1999 in Mexico. A recent study conducted by the DEA indicates that as much as 29% of the heroin being used in the U.S. is being smuggled in by the Mexico-based organized crime syndicates. Mexican black tar heroin is produced in Mexico, and transported over the border in cars and trucks. Like cocaine and methamphetamine, it is trafficked by associates of the organized criminal groups in Mexico, and provided to dealers and users in the Southwest, Northwest, and Midwest areas of the United States. At one time, it was commonplace for couriers to carry two pounds or so of heroin into the United States; recently, quantities of heroin seized from individuals has increased as is evidenced by larger seizures in a number of towns in Texas. This heroin is extremely potent, and its use has resulted in a significant number of deaths.
Marijuana from Mexico still dominates the illicit U.S. import market although U.S. experts estimate Mexico's marijuana production at 3,700 metric tons (compared with 4,600 in 1998 and 4,800 in 1997). In addition, during 1999, the GOM eradicated some 23,547 hectares of marijuana (down from 24,200 in 1998). Seizures of Mexican marijuana have increased from 102 metric tons in 1991 to 836.3 metric tons in 1999. Marijuana organizations from Mexico are very powerful and violent. In some places, traffickers from Mexico have established growing operations within the United States. In a recent case in Idaho, DEA , working with other federal, state and local law enforcement officials, arrested a group of illegal aliens from Zacatecas, Mexico. A total of 114,000 marijuana plants, weighing almost 20 tons, were seized. This operation represented the largest marijuana seizure ever in the state of Idaho.
It is important to note that although many of the transactions relating to the drug trade take place on U.S. soil, the major organized crime bosses direct each and every detail of their multi-billion dollar business while situated in Mexico. They are responsible not only for the business decisions being made, but ultimately for the devastation that too many American communities have suffered as a result of the influx of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana. These powerful and organized syndicates can frustrate the ability of the Mexican anti-drug police. Their ability to place obstacles such as corruption and unlimited resources in the path of police can oftentimes impede investigations. In the past year, none of the major Mexican trafficking organizations have been dismantled or significantly disrupted by Mexican authorities.
Law Enforcement Response:
Reporting indicates that the Southwest border (SWB) remains a major point of entry for approximately 70% of all illicit drugs smuggled into our country by Mexican trafficking groups. In response to this continued threat along the border, the DEA has established several initiatives that facilitate and improve intelligence and information sharing, while identifying and removing impediments to cooperation. These initiatives employ a multi-pronged strategy, which utilizes and combines law enforcement operations, intelligence operations, and provides for law enforcement assistance in order to achieve success in combating criminal drug trafficking organizations along the border. The objective of these initiatives are to disrupt and ultimately dismantle criminal organizations that smuggle illicit drugs into the U.S. by linking Federal, state and local investigations domestically and mobilizing multilateral enforcement efforts abroad. Based upon past trends, intelligence, and recent seizures along the border, the DEA has established the following priorities for the SWB Field Divisions: (1) cocaine investigations involving violent organizations; (2) methamphetamine investigations, (3) heroin investigations, (4) marijuana investigations, (5) money laundering investigations and (6) diverted/dangerous drug and chemical investigations.
In response to the emergence of these Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization's (MDTO), it became apparent that a coordinated strategy for law enforcement counterdrug activities needed to be implemented. In order to combat drug production and trafficking networks operating along the U.S./Mexican border, DEA, in concert with other Federal agencies established the Southwest Border Initiative - an integrated, coordinated law enforcement effort designed to attack the command and control structure of organized criminal operations associated with the Mexican Federation. This strategy focuses on intelligence and enforcement efforts which target drug distribution systems within the U.S. and directs resources toward the disruption of those principal drug trafficking organizations operating across the border.
As such, DEA, in cooperation with other Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies is focusing increased intelligence, technical resources and investigative expertise on the major MDTO's responsible for smuggling vast quantities of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine across the border.
Apart from this effort, DEA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also provide operational planning, intelligence and training to Government of Mexico (GOM) law enforcement authorities, to strengthen their capacity to combat these organizations. The Southwest Border strategy targets specific Mexican trafficking organizations operating across the border and attacks their command and control infrastructures wherever they operate.
Further, the Special Operations Division (SOD)is a joint national coordinating and support entity comprised of agents, analysts, and prosecutors from DOJ, Customs, FBI, DEA and IRS. Its mission is to coordinate and support regional and national criminal investigations and prosecutions against trafficking organizations that most threaten the U.S. SOD performs seamlessly across both investigative agency and district jurisdictional boundaries, providing field offices with necessary support, assistance, intelligence analysis and "leads" for investigative action. Within SOD, no distinction is made among the participating investigative agencies. Where appropriate, state and local authorities are fully integrated into coordinated operations. As presently configured, SOD consists of five sections; each of which has both DEA and FBI personnel assigned. One section targets Colombian Trafficking Organizations, a second concentrates on cocaine and heroin trafficking in Europe and Asia, a third targets money laundering organizations and the remaining two sections are the heart of the Southwest Border Project and focus their efforts on the principal MDTO's. These two sections target, among other things, the command and control networks of the identified MDTO's, and their supporting organizations operating along the Southwest border. As such, the interagency regional objectives are as follows; (1) Intelligence collection and analysis, (2) Investigations, (3) Interdiction and Enforcement and (4) Prosecution and Incarceration. The following operation delineates the need and significance for such a multi-agency project:
In September 1999, the DEA announced the conclusion of a two-year international investigation that culminated in the arrest of over 106 individuals linked to the Amado Carrillo Fuentes (ACF) drug trafficking organization, headquartered in Cancun, Mexico. This investigation, known as "Operation Impunity", was a multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency investigation which directly linked drug trafficking activity in the United States to the highest level of the Mexican cocaine trade.
This investigation began in January 1998 and was conducted jointly by the DEA, FBI, USCS, U.S. Attorney's Office, DOJ/Criminal Division and a host of state and local law enforcement agencies. The investigation encompassed 53 DEA, FBI and USCS case investigations which spans 14 Federal judicial districts. Since 1998, this investigation has resulted in 36 seizures, netting 12,434 kilograms of cocaine, a half a kilo of heroin, 4,806 pounds of marijuana, more than $19 million in U.S. currency, and the arrest of 106 individuals.
The above statistics only tell part of the story. Operation Impunity demonstrated an unparalleled coordinated and cooperative effort among the law enforcement community. Overall, this investigation allowed the law enforcement community to ascertain this organization's method of operation from the narcotic distribution in Colombia to the transportation through Mexico to the ultimate distribution networks throughout the U.S. Such success clearly demonstrates the need for the continuation of long term, multi-agency investigations.
Cooperative Efforts with the Government of Mexico/Status of Vetted Units:
Subsequent to the arrest of General Gutierrez Rebollo in 1997 and the establishment of mechanisms within the Mexican law enforcement infrastructure, such as the Bilateral Task Forces (BTF's) and the Vetted Unit program, DEA became cautiously optimistic relative to the prospects of the GOM's commitment to bilateral investigations. The DEA has supported these programs financially and with other resources in hope that our efforts would result in a successful attack against the drug lords who are creating so much havoc throughout communities in the United States. However, continuing reports of corruption and the rapidly growing power and influence of the major organized criminal groups in Mexico cause us great concern about the long-term prospects for success. Perhaps, the arrest of Operation Impunity target Jaime Aguilar Gastelum and Operation Millennium target Guillermo Moreno-Rios, by Mexican authorities, is indicative of the GOM's future commitment to such joint ventures.
However, in the last year the Vetted Units Program in Mexico has not achieved the potential as originally envisioned by both governments. In order to presently address this issue, the DEA and the Government of Mexico's equivalent to the DEA, the Fiscalia Especializada Para la Atencion de Delitos Contra la Salud (FEADS), have agreed to carefully review the Program and establish ways to improve its efficiency and effectiveness against mutually agreed investigative targets. The DEA and FEADS also continue to conduct joint investigative endeavors throughout Mexico. The joint investigations are being conducted with the primary investigative component of the FEADS vetted units --the Bilateral Task Forces (BTF's). However, the DEA has not worked with the remaining vetted units due to diminished efforts of the Government of Mexico/PGR to better organize them into a well-engaged work force.
However, the investigative achievements by the BTF and the SIU as related to cases against the major drug trafficking organizations are minimal. The inability of these units to fully employ the provisions of the Organized Crime Law to properly investigate these major organizations has been equally disappointing. Further complicating investigative efforts, the Mexico City-based SIU was compromised in February 1999 by a Mexican news exposé describing the operations of that unit, to include its location, activities and investigative targets. Because of this setback, the SIU has been largely shut down, and throughout 1999 to present, the GOM has failed to revive the unit and is still in the process of searching for a new site to relocate the SIU. In addition, throughout 1999 police personnel from the Mexico City SIU were separated into smaller groups and often deployed to various regions throughout Mexico in order to work other investigations, such as the search for Mexico fugitive and former Governor of the State of Quintana Roo Mario Villanueva-Madrid.
In addition, vetted unit personnel of the Organized Crime Unit (OCU), of which the SIU is a part, have been investigating a drug smuggling network of the Carrillo-Fuentes organization in Cancun, headed by Alcides Ramon-Magana. During the course of this investigation, DEA has shared three principal witnesses with the OCU who have provided information regarding this organization . The information gleaned from these witnesses has contributed to the seizure of real estate in Quintana Roo and the arrest of several defendants in this case, including mid-level drug trafficker and money-launderer Carlos Colin-Padilla. In addition, the GOM issued arrest warrants for a total of 44 individuals associated with Ramon-Magana including an arrest warrant issued on April 5, 1999, against former Governor Villanueva Madrid on 28 counts of drug related offenses.
The governments of Mexico and the United States will continue to conduct cooperative and bilateral investigations. Just this month, based upon information provided by the DEA to the GOM, two such operations were conducted, resulting in the seizure of a cocaine laboratory and a methamphetamine laboratory in Mexico. Ultimately, DEA believes that the vetting process is our best chance at ensuring integrity with our counterparts. As mentioned in previous testimony today with respect to the ongoing bilateral Vetted Units Program survey, DEA will remain actively engaged with our GOM counterparts relative to this process. DEA will also encourage the GOM to fully staff and support the BTF's and the SIU's with FEADS personnel that have already been vetted and to supply the resources that these operations require.
Although the Mexican government is attempting to address the issue of corruption, it continues to be a serious problem in Mexican law enforcement institutions. The Federal Preventive Police (FPP) was created in early 1999 in response to the existing corruption in the police ranks, but recently reported that several FPP agents were under investigation for corrupt activities. In December 1999 the Government of Mexico/PGR reported that between April 1997 through 1999 more than 1,400 of the 3,500 federal police officers had been fired for corruption and that 357 of the officers had been prosecuted. Additionally, the National Public Safety System established a national police registry to prevent corrupt police officials from being rehired by another law enforcement entity. However, the PGR has not fully implemented these programs to deal with corruption. For example, in 1999, the former Director of Investigations for the PGR's SIU and OCU, Cuauhtemoc Herrera Suastegui, was reassigned to a high-level position within the PGR despite failing a USG-administered polygraph examination in 1998. Additionally, there are indications that he provided assistance to the Carrillo-Fuentes drug trafficking organization. Although several FEADS vetted "floater" units have had several successes during 1999, the Vetted Unit Program failed to adhere to internal security principles involving the polygraph process, which may lead to potential compromises and corruption. The Mexican military also has experienced narco-related corruption within its ranks.
As of July 1999, an amendment to the Judicial Organic law mandated that PGR officers, prosecutors, police agents, experts, and pilots assigned to narcotics eradication duties are required to undergo an evaluation process, to include background checks and polygraphs.
Judicial efforts to stop corruption are underway. On January 11, 2000, a Mexican Federal judge issued an arrest warrant for the magistrate who wrongly freed Adan Amezcua-Contreras, a major methamphetamine trafficker. On February 3, 2000, the Mexican Federal Supreme Court ruled that the suspended Morelos Governor, Jorge Carrillo-Olea, could be brought to trial for protecting drug trafficking and kidnapping activities. Olea, a retired general and former Director of Mexico's civilian intelligence agency (CISN) and former anti-drug Commissioner for the Attorney General's Office (PGR), was ordered by the Federal Supreme Court to be placed under house arrest by the PGR. The PGR, however, has yet to take him into custody. This is the first time the Federal Supreme Court ruled to refer a Governor or Executive Branch official to trial.
Perhaps the most alarming incident involving Mexican officials occurred on November 9, 1999, when a DEA Special Agent, along with a FBI Special Agent debriefed a Confidential Source in Matamoros, Mexico. During the course of this debriefing the Special Agents and Confidential Source were surrounded and physically threatened by documented Mexican trafficker Osiel Cardenas-Guillen and approximately 15 associates. Each of these associates, one brandishing a gold-plated automatic assault weapon, were either municipal or state police officers. Furthermore, despite monitoring the entire incident over the DEA Special Agent's cellular telephone, whom had called to request assistance, the Tamaulipas State Judicial Police Commander took no action. Due only to their resourcefulness and ability to diffuse this potentially fatal encounter, were the agents and the confidential source able to survive unscathed. Among other issues, this incident highlights the vulnerability of DEA and FBI Special Agents working in Mexico.
Status of Extraditions:
The principal leaders of major drug trafficking organizations fear the threat of extradition to the United States more than any other law enforcement or judicial tool. Extradition of significant traffickers ensures that those responsible for the command and control of illicit activities, including drug smuggling and money laundering, will be held totally accountable for their actions and serve a prison sentence commensurate with their crimes.
No major drug traffickers were extradited to the United States in 1999. The Mexican Government did extradite 10 fugitives on narcotics related or money laundering offenses in 1999 -- eight U.S. citizens and two Mexican citizens. One Mexican citizen, a drug trafficker, was sought on drug charges after escaping from a U. S. prison while serving a sentence on drug related crimes. The other Mexican citizen, who killed a United States Border patrol agent, was sought on murder and marijuana smuggling charges.
In September 1998, the Government of Mexico arrested U.S. Citizen and DEA fugitive Randall Jeffrey Spradling in Guadalajara which, given Spradling's strong ties to both Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers, was an important event. He is fighting extradition to the United States.
In the past twelve months, some Mexican Courts have denied extradition of significant drug traffickers, such as Jaime Ladino-Avila, to the U.S. due to a variety of reasons, such as outstanding Supreme Court decisions holding life imprisonment unconstitutional in Mexico. At the end of 1999, there were 40 persons in Mexican custody and subject to extradition proceedings based on U.S. provisional arrest warrants and extradition requests. However, DEA has not observed any positive developments with respect to the extradition of significant drug traffickers in the last year.
Conclusion: The Road Ahead:
The United States' long experience with confronting and dismantling organized criminal activity has necessitated the development of an aggressive, cohesive and coordinated strategy to identify, target, arrest and incapacitate the leadership of these organizations . DEA=s role in addressing the drug problem is to continue to attack the leadership of these international criminal organizations. With a strategy consisting of mounting attacks on the organizational command and control of major Mexican trafficking syndicates that operate along the U.S./Mexico border, the DEA is able to attack the ability of these organizations to conduct business and impede their efforts to import drugs into the U.S.
The effectiveness of national and bilateral efforts against drug organizations will depend largely on demonstrable progress in disrupting and dismantling these transnational narco-trafficking organizations. This includes apprehending, prosecuting and convicting major drug traffickers, as well as exercising extradition laws against those defendants facing federal drug trafficking charges in the United States, and exposing and prosecuting individuals and businesses involved in providing critical support networks such as front companies, security , transportation and the like.
Therefore, it is imperative for law enforcement to continue to facilitate the flow of information and intelligence while identifying and removing impediments to cooperation. In this vein, it is vital for the DEA, along with other USG agencies, to continue to support the GOM in the field of counternarcotics operations. In turn, DEA encourages and expects the GOM to provide adequate investigative manpower, ongoing integrity testing, financial resources, equipment and reciprocal drug intelligence in support of bilateral drug law enforcement, which should significantly improve both governments' ability to counter and eliminate transnational drug trafficking organizations.
However, the true sign of success regarding anti-drug efforts in Mexico is best recognized with tangible results from concerted law enforcement efforts, i.e. the arrest and successful prosecution of significant leaders of these major drug cartels in Mexico and; where applicable, their extraditions to the United States to face federal drug trafficking charges. We are not yet there.