Aiding Mexico in Drug War, Smuggling Worry

Dr. Richard Downie, director of the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, a DOD regional center, told attendees at AFA’s Air & Space Conference Sept. 15 that the US has committed $1.4 billion over three years to assist Mexico in its fight against drug traffickers. That level of commitment to Mexico, he said, is unprecedented. The funding goes toward training, equipment, and infrastructure to battle drug traffickers, whose warring— concentrated mainly in Chihuahua, Tijuana, Baja California, and Mexico City—has killed 12,400 people in the last 18 months. Downie said, too, that President Calderon recognized he cannot rely on corrupt and outgunned police, so for now he has tapped the military to help him “take back Mexico.” Downie also expressed concern that Latin American drug cartels are using topless sailboats that sail under radar to ferry cocaine; he wonders whether terrorist could use such vessels to smuggle in nuclear weapons.