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Mexico's Counter-Narcotics Efforts Under Zedillo, December 1994 to March 1998

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Publication Date: March 1998

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: 98-161

Topic: Social conditions (Alcohol and drug addiction and trafficking)

Coverage: Mexico

Abstract:

This report provides information on Mexico's counter-narcotics efforts under the presidency of Ernesto Zedillo from December 1994 to March 1998 in the context of President Clinton's February 26, 1998 certification that Mexico was fully cooperative in drug control efforts. The report focuses on (1) trends in Mexico’s share of illicit drug traffic to the United States, (2) measures of Mexico’s efforts to control drug trafficking, and (3) Mexico’s cooperation with the United States in counter-narcotics efforts. Mexico has remained the major transit point for cocaine entering the United States from South America, and a major source country for heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine, although more cocaine may be transiting the Caribbean recently. Seizures of cocaine, opium and marijuana increased in 1997, while seizures of heroin, methamphetamine and ephedrine declined significantly. Arrests declined in 1997, but Mexico had some limited success against major druglords. Eradication of opium remained nearly the same, while marijuana declined, although Mexico leads the world in this area. U.S.-Mexico counter-narcotics cooperation reached unprecedented levels, with the full range of law enforcement, military, border, and drug control agencies being involved, although corruption remains a persistent problem. Acting through cabinet level and working groups of the High Level Contact Group (HLCG) on Narcotics Control, the countries announced completion of joint anti-drug strategy goals in February 1998.