Washington – Drug Enforcement Administration’s Administrator Michele M. Leonhart announced today the signing of a new memorandum of cooperation (MOC) between the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the Government of Mexico to aggressively address the continuing problem of illegal methamphetamine production. Mexican Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez and General Commissioner of the Mexican Federal Police Maribel Cervantes Guerrero made the announcement with Administrator Leonhart.
The MOC will assist in sustaining long-term joint efforts between the U.S. and Mexico in battling methamphetamine production. U.S. and Mexican officials enjoy a strong cooperative relationship that includes information and intelligence exchange, joint chemical control efforts, and training and resources for methamphetamine lab dismantling. A methamphetamine lab is a hidden or secret facility equipped and used in the production of illegal drugs such as methamphetamine.
“With the majority of methamphetamine in the US being produced by Mexican drug organizations operating on both sides of the border, it is essential for our two countries to target the problem together," Leonhart said. “This MOC enhances our intelligence sharing and joint training efforts, and is only possible due to the strong partnership with the Government of Mexico in attacking the meth scourge both countries unfortunately face.”
Mexico’s Attorney General Marisela Morales said, “Mexico and the United States are linked not only by economic, political and social bonds, but also by security and law enforcement issues.” The signing of the MOC “is an unprecedented event because both of our countries are signing the very first international instrument that will help fight the manufacturing of synthetic drugs in clandestine laboratories,” she said.
The General Commissioner of Mexico’s Federal Police Maribel Cervantes noted that “the recent increase in the production and consumption of designer drugs is both a security and a health problem that demands immediate attention by both governments. I am certain that the signing of this document will increase the institutional capacities of all of us to combat this problem more efficiently. The Mexican Federal Police will make every effort to increase timely coordination and exchange of information to build a common front against the illicit trade of design drugs.”
Mexico has experienced a dramatic increase in clandestine methamphetamine lab and precursor chemical seizures, nearly 1,000 percent between 2010 and 2011. This increase has led to a rise of methamphetamine seizures at the U.S. border. In 2011, Southwest border seizures of meth totaled 7,338 kilograms, more than twice the amount seized in 2009. The Department of State has set aside $12 million in Merida Initiative funding to support Mexican government efforts to enhance Mexico’s capacity to safely secure clan labs, gather evidence, and destroy chemical precursors.