Mexico As Drug Source Drug

control in Mexico is unique—the reason both for Mexico's paradoxical success as well as for its ongoing difficulty in managing the issue. Believing that destruction at their agricultural source is the most effective way to reduce supplies and halt trafficking, Mexico began to spray the OPIUM poppy (PAPAVER SOMNIFERUM) and Marijuana plant (CANNABIS Sativa) in late 1975 with the herbicides paraquat and 2,4-D. Plants, not people, became the target in the 1970s and 1980s. Until the early 1990s, the drug-eradication program was the centerpiece of Mexico's program. With the 1990s increase in Colombian cocaine transiting Mexico, the Mexican government increased its efforts to work with the United States in halting COCAINE smuggled through Mexico, sharing intelligence, extraditing non-Mexican nationals, and reducing drug-related corruption. However, by 2000 the government's efforts remained hampered by corruption in the police and military. Tensions between the United States and Mexico increased as U.S. officials and legislators questioned the ability of Mexico to curb drug trafficking, which had grown dramatically as more enforcement efforts were placed on other South American countries, including Columbia. Several prominent officials were found to have worked with drug traffickers to subvert reform efforts. Finally, the election of Vicente Fox as Mexico's president in 2000 signaled the possibility of political change, as Fox became the first president not elected from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the modern era.

Mexico's principal agency for drug control is the attorney general's office, but the Mexican military has also been involved with manual crop eradication and operational support for herbicidal spraying. The Mexican military has also become involved in tactical reconnaissance, interdiction, and destruction of secret landing strips. In the late 1990s, the Mexican government established the Federal Preventative Police (FPP) to integrate the law enforcement responsibilities of several existing federal agencies and to focus on crime prevention and public security. Historically, the government of Mexico has increased its effectiveness in the drug-control field as a positive response to U.S. diplomatic and enforcement pressures. During the 1990s, under increased U.S. pressure, the two countries agreed to a Binational Drug Strategy.

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