- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2006

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales yesterday said the United States and Mexico are developing a strategy to attack large methamphetamine trafficking organizations operating on both sides of the border.

Mr. Gonzales, speaking at a National Methamphetamine Chemical Initiative conference in Dallas, said the two countries had reached an agreement for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Mexican government to establish specialized anti-meth enforcement teams.

In Mexico, he said, the teams will focus on investigating and targeting the most-wanted Mexican meth trafficking organizations, while DEA-led efforts on the U.S. side will focus on traffickers and distributors of the highly addictive drug produced in Mexico.

“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,” Mr. Gonzales said.

“We will work with our Mexican counterparts to trace precursor chemicals destined for our region of the world, uncover and dismantle lab sites fueled by these chemicals and track the meth distribution trail into our country from seller to buyer,” he said.

Mr. Gonzales said strong American demand for methamphetamines is fueling its production and that the public needs to be better informed about its dangers. He said the trafficking organizations combine the “sophistication of a contemporary corporation with the brutality of a street gang.”

Mr. Gonzales was joined at the conference by Mexican Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca, DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy and Office of National Drug Control Policy Director John P. Walters.

“Methamphetamine trafficking and the movement of its chemicals are now a global epidemic,” Mrs. Tandy said.

“For the first time in history, the U.S. attorney general and the Mexico attorney general are standing together to announce a real plan to tackle … meth production.

“For those of us who have been quick to write off any hope of making real headway against drug traffickers in Mexico, today is a new day,” she said.

Mr. Gonzales said the meth trafficking and distribution chain into the United States runs through seaports as well as across the land and that the DEA, in a coordinated effort with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, would take measures to detect meth and meth precursor chemicals in cargo arriving at seaports in this country.

He said Mexican authorities will take similar actions in their country.

“There is much effort under way, and plans for more, as it should be. The U.S. and Mexico share common goals. We want to be safe from terrorism, violent crime, gangs and the dangers posed by drugs,” he said.

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