Wednesday, June 19, 2024

AMLO criticizes DEA for unauthorized operations in Mexico

President López Obrador has accused the United States government of “abusive interference” and espionage after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) revealed that it had infiltrated the Sinaloa Cartel.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday that it had unsealed charges against 28 high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel members, including three known as “Los Chapitos” – the children of former Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. 

At an April 14 press conference, DEA Administrator Anne Milgram revealed that the department had infiltrated the Sinaloa Cartel and the Chapitos network without the authorization of Mexican authorities. (DEA/Facebook)

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram told a press conference that the DEA “proactively infiltrated the Sinaloa Cartel and the Chapitos network” over the past year and a half. The law enforcement agency “obtained unprecedented access to the organization’s highest levels, and followed them across the world,” she said. 

Milgram also said that the Chapitos, one of whom is the recently-detained Ovidio Guzmán, “pioneered the manufacture and trafficking of fentanyl, … flooded it into the United States for the past eight years and killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.”  

López Obrador said Monday that the DEA carried out its infiltration operation in Mexico without the authorization of federal authorities. He pledged to raise the issue with the United States. 

“There can’t be foreign agents in our country, no. We can share information, but those who can intervene [in Mexico] are elements of the Mexican Army, the Navy, the National Guard and the federal Attorney General’s Office,” he said. 

Last year, the Mexican government shut down operations of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the elite DEA team that had operated in the country since 1997. (

López Obrador said that the DEA’s infiltration of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico amounted to “arrogant” and “abusive interference” that “mustn’t be accepted under any circumstances.”

“How can they be spying! … Acts of espionage cannot be used,” he said. 

“It’s not the same time as before. I’ve already said it here — during the government of Felipe Calderón … [the United States] brought everything but the kitchen sink into the country; they were allowed [to]. They had an overly intense relationship with the Ministry of the Navy, and the time came when it wasn’t cooperation but rather subordination of the …navy to the United States agencies,” López Obrador said.     

He said that the United States Department of State and Department of Justice need to “put things in order” because “everything is very loose.” 

Ex-DEA boss Nicholas Palmeri was fired in 2022 for improper conduct while leading operations in Mexico. (Photo: DEA).

The president questioned how the U.S. government could “blindly trust” DEA agents when “it is proven that many of them — or some, so as not to exaggerate — maintain, or maintained, links with organized crime.”  

López Obrador specifically cited the case of the DEA’s former top official in Mexico, Nicholas Palmeri, who was ousted last year due to improper contact with lawyers for drug traffickers. 

He also spoke about U.S. government links to Genaro García Luna, Mexico’s former federal security minister under former President Felipe Calderón. García Luna was convicted in New York on drug trafficking charges in February.

López Obrador’s condemnation of the U.S. government’s “interference” in Mexico comes just days after high-ranking officials from the two countries met in Washington D.C. to discuss bilateral security cooperation, especially joint efforts to combat the trafficking of synthetic drugs and firearms. 

Among the topics discussed at a recent security meeting in Washington D.C. was fentanyl trafficking from Mexico to the United States. (Marcelo Ebrard/Twitter)

The president said that the DEA’s unauthorized infiltration operation in Mexico would not affect the ongoing security cooperation, but he rebuked the U.S. government for perpetuating its “bad habits” of the past.  

He said last month that the U.S. government thinks it is “the government of the world,” but he has avoided making any direct criticism of President Joe Biden. 

Mexico News Daily 

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