Conflict & Justice

Mexican official accuses CIA of 'managing' not 'fighting' drug trade


Law enforcement efforts against the drug trade have not been able to stop violence, which has killed more than 55,000 people in Mexico since 2006.


Spencer Platt

A Mexican state government spokesman told Al Jazeera that the CIA and other international security forces "don't fight drug traffickers" as much as "try to manage the drug trade," Chris Arsenault reports.

"It's like pest control companies, they only control," Chihuahua spokesman Guillermo Terrazas Villanueva told Al Jazeera. "If you finish off the pests, you are out of a job. If they finish the drug business, they finish their jobs."

Chihuahua, one of Mexico's most violent states, borders on Texas.

Arsenault quickly notes that Villanueva is not a high ranking official and that the mayor of Juarez, Chihuahua, dismissed the accusations as "baloney."

Nevertheless, a government official going on the record with such claims is rare.

And a mid-level official with the Secretaria de Gobernacion in Juarez (Mexico's equivalent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) told Al Jazeera the allegations were true based on discussions he's had with US officials working in Juarez.

Arsenault highlights that the defense attorneys for Jesús Zambada Niebla — a leading trafficker from the Sinaloa cartel currently awaiting trial in Chicago — stated, as part of his defense, that "United States government agents aided the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel."

Other high-level members of the Sinaloa cartel — Mexico's oldest trafficking organization — have made similar claims that Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the Sinaloa cartel leader and one of the world's most wanted men, works closely with US authorities.

Upwards of 55,000 people have died from drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006.

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