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COMING SOON: Mexico-United States Counternarcotics Policy, 1969-2013

November 25, 2013

Screen shot 2013-11-25 at 12.29.58 PMIn December 2013 the National Security Archive, with the help of our partners at ProQuest, will publish our latest document collection, Mexico-United States Counternarcotics Policy, 1969-2013. The collection of 1,877 documents, which will be by far the most comprehensive collection of primary source material on the subject available, will let the public delve directly into critical events in the evolution of Mexico-U.S. drug policy, including policy reviews, internal assessments, intelligence and investigation reports, memoranda of conversation, and diplomatic cables, which provide an intimate view of the dynamics of the U.S.-Mexico relationship.

This collection focuses on one aspect of the complex and multifaceted US-Mexican relationship: counternarcotics policy. Using records of high-level bilateral meetings; reports of counternarcotics operations, ground-level arrests, and drug seizures; and day-to-day reporting on the rise of drug trafficking, violence, and official corruption, this set traces U.S.-Mexican drug-control cooperation from the Nixon administration through the first term of the Obama presidency. These documents follow the often-contentious relations between the hemisphere’s largest consumer of illegal drugs and the principal producer and transit point for those substances. It chronicles the impact of U.S. drug policy on Mexico-U.S. relations; the infusion of counternarcotics aid in the form of equipment, training, and joint eradication programs; and the transformation of drug control from a law enforcement to a national security issue.

Among the important topics covered are:

  • Operation Intercept and subsequent U.S. and Mexican drug control campaigns;
  • the controversial use of herbicides for opium and marijuana crop eradication;
  • the rise of Mexican cartels, drug violence, and official corruption;
  • the 1985 murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent Enrique Camarena by Mexican drug traffickers;
  • The abduction and transfer to the U.S. of Guadalajara physician Humberto Álvarez Machaín at the behest of the DEA;
  • bilateral talks over conditions governing U.S. drug control aid;
  • cooperative law enforcement efforts, including information sharing, joint operations, and extradition treaty negotiations
  • Mexican concerns about U.S. deployment of Joint Task Force Six along the southwest border;
  • U.S. efforts to tie foreign aid to drug control through the counternarcotics certification process;
  • the effect of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on the drug trade; and
  •  development and implementation of the Mérida Initiative.

Mexico-U.S. Counternarcotics Policy, 1969-2013 presents a uniquely detailed compendium of declassified documents, with some publicly available records integrated for context, to help researchers gain an in-depth understanding of more than four decades in the history of one of the United States’ most important bilateral relationships.  These documents are the result of a long-term, intensive effort by the National Security Archive’s Mexico Project, led by Senior Analyst Kate Doyle, to obtain the declassification and release of materials under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) process.  FOIA and MDR requests targeted the State Department (including the embassy in Mexico City and consulates in Mexico), Defense Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidential libraries, and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

With such a rich assortment of policy-level material, the collection can be used to glean invaluable insights into subjects of even broader reach and import – U.S. relations with Central America and Latin America, and the worldwide narco-crisis, for example.  Moreover, researchers studying presidential decision-making, the interagency policy process, the intelligence community, federal-state cooperation, the nexus between policy-making and law enforcement – not to mention international relations, U.S. history and international law – will find much of interest to explore.

We are looking forward to sharing the results of the Archive’s FOIA and MDR efforts with the public, so please stay tuned for the Collection’s publication at the end of this year!

One Comment
  1. November 27, 2013 9:47 am

    It’ll be interesting reading, one would expect. A tip (of the iceberg, so to speak) is this article at the El Paso Times:

    Quoting the article:

    “”We .. had information on campaign fundraisers and parties in La Union that the cartel held for officials from New Mexico and El Paso. A lot of important people were at those parties, such as bankers, judges, and law enforcement officers.

    “Dutton and Gonzales said small aircraft regularly drop drug loads on ranches or other properties along the U.S.-Mexico border, and that some U.S. law officers escort the loads to the next stop.

    “The two whistle-blowers said that drug cartels have managed to obtain computer access codes to U.S. surveillance systems that let them see where and when Border Patrol agents are monitoring the border.

    “They also alleged that drug cartels have given big donations to politicians, which are unreported, to influence appointments of key law enforcement officers.

    “Some of these allegations were contained in a letter that Dutton provided to Gov. Rick Perry, who is seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for president in the 2012 election.

    “Our office received the letter and referred it to the appropriate agency, which was the Department of Public Safety,” Josh Havens, a spokesman for the Texas governor’s office, said last Friday.

    “Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety and a former FBI agent from El Paso, said last Friday that he was interested in talking to Dutton. Then, about a half-hour later, McCraw said that Dutton had no credibility.

    “We looked into it and there was nothing there,” McCraw said. Dutton said in response, “How can they say there was nothing when they didn’t even look at what I have?” Dutton said he has videos, telephone records, and other documents gathered over the 18 months he worked with the FBI. “The DPS never asked to see any of it,” Dutton said

    “Dutton said other informants told him that the Zetas drug cartel has a high-level member in Las Cruces whose wife holds a non-law enforcement job in the “DA’s office,” referring to the Doña Ana County District Attorney’s Office. “The FBI was provided with all this information, and I guess that’s why they’re now saying that we’re crazy,” Dutton said”

    Said enough..

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