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Column 112805 Brewer

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mexican president not flippant on drug trade

By Jerry Brewer

It is time to acknowledge important advances made by
President Vicente Fox of Mexico in the fight against the
illegal narcotics trade in the Americas, especially since
he continues the struggle without doing so to get

Probably the single most repulsive scourge in modern
history, the drug trade is responsible for more death,
violence and mayhem than one could conveniently
count. And Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has
blindly called “Fox” a puppy of the North Americans, but
the Venezuelan’s sense of hearing may also be failing −
for this Fox has a bark that can definitely be heard
above Chavez’s whimpering rhetoric.

Mexico has conveniently taken the heat from the
narcotics woes of the United States. Our nation’s
US$30 billion drug habit sends the cash south as the
drugs flow north, with Mexico and Central America lying
directly in the line of fire between drug producing
countries in South America and the U.S. border − a
natural conduit. In fact, all seven Central American
countries are actively used by drug trafficking
organizations to funnel their illicit contraband north,
which fuels the fight.

Yet Fox has growled that his government will not back
down from this fight, while recognizing the enormous
demand for drugs. The United States seized upon Fox’s
expressed commitment, unleashing a series of
proactive initiatives and intensifying antinarcotics
efforts. A “Violent Crime Impact Team” was proposed
for Laredo, Texas, to increase the presence of U.S. law
enforcement on the border, and Mexico’s Attorney
General, Daniel Cabeza de Vaca, announced a series of
bilateral initiatives and coordinated enforcement efforts
to combat area crime and violence.

The accords include improvement, coordination and
timeliness in the sharing of law enforcement
information and intelligence, mainly for unified and
prompt exchanges regarding events on either side of
the border. Cabeza de Vaca also expressed concern
over the drug trafficker’s greatest weapon − “the power
of money to corrupt.”

President Fox speaks of Mexico’s significant success in
recent years in arresting at least “a dozen powerful
(drug) kingpins.” Too, he notes that “growing
transparency within the government has weakened the
old corrupt networks that allowed the cartels to move
through society and prosper.”

Recently Mexico captured Ricardo Garcia Urquiza, a
surgeon known as “The Doctor,” in what has been
described as a mortal blow to the Juarez Cartel.
According to Cabeza de Vaca, “this drug trafficker is
probably one of the most important to be arrested in
history.” With Garcia’s arrest, “the criminal
organization is being dismantled,” he stated.

Those remarks are indicative of proactive strategies
designed to hunt “flesh.” The U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration and other law enforcement officials are
seeking and seizing multi-tons of drugs and currency,
yet only people can be prosecuted and punished.

And the problems are with people − for they commit
the murders, perpetrate the crime and intimidation, and
pay the bribes.

As well, illegal drug and currency activities will not be
deterred as long as organized traffickers want to
perform. So the drug cartels must be targeted
consistently, and the gangs dismantled in their entirety
through a strategy of pursuing kingpins and organizers
methodically, meticulously and relentlessly. And care
must be taken to keep the game plan focused on
attacking the command and control structures of the

Mexico and the United States have agreements to share
training and technical assistance, as well as ancillary
support such as forensics, prison security, victim and
witness protection, and related areas. Too, citizens
throughout the world can participate and earn money,
as the FBI lists millions of dollars in rewards for the
capture of many of these criminals.

Furthermore, the Central Intelligence Agency is
transitioning human intelligence collection back to the
forefront. Although science has certainly advanced in
many areas of data collection, the CIA recognizes that
information flows from people and those involved
possess the facts.

Fox’s clever war on traffickers may have also rubbed off
on Guatemala.

Recently Guatemala’s top anti-drug investigator and
two other senior officials were indicted on charges of
conspiring to import and distribute cocaine in the United
States. This a sweet victory, since U.S. officials say an
estimated 75 percent of the cocaine that reaches U.S.
soil passes through Guatemala. In the past the
Guatemalan government has done little to stop
narcotics trafficking.

As to the future with Mexico, hopefully the next
president will understand the ongoing and critical need
to pursue drug traffickers. In this case, a fox needs to
be kept near the henhouse.

Jerry Brewer, the Vice President of Criminal Justice
International Associates, a global risk mitigation firm
headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, is also a
columnist with He can be reached via e-
mail at