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NSIAD-98-154, June 30, 1998 (36 pages). Drug Control: U.S.-Mexican Counternarcotics Efforts Face Difficult Challenges. [Text] [PDF]

Mexico continues to be the primary transit route for cocaine entering the United States from South America, as well as a major source country for heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamines. Moreover, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, drug-trafficking organizations are increasing their activities, posing a threat to citizens in the United States and Mexico. Although Mexico, with U.S. assistance, has taken steps to improve its ability to reduce the flow of illegal drugs into the United States, these efforts are in the early stages of implementation and some are limited in scope. For example, no Mexican national has actually been surrendered to the United States on drug charges, some new laws have not been fully implemented, and developing competent law enforcement and judicial institutions has been a challenge. Also, the Mexican government faces a shortage of trained personnel, a lack of adequate funding to support operations, and extensive corruption. At the same time, key elements of the Defense Department's counternarcotics assistance to Mexico were of limited usefulness or could have been better planned and coordinated by U.S. and Mexican officials.