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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06MEXICO3297
2006-06-15 00:50:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Mexico
Cable title:  

ENGAGING THE NEW MEXICAN ADMINISTRATION ON LAW

Tags:   PREL  KCRM  SNAR  MX 
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VZCZCXYZ0005
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHME #3297/01 1660050
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 150050Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1655
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CDR USNORTHCOM
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUCNFB/FBI WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEWMCS/US MARSHALS SERVICE WASHINGTON DC
RHEHOND/DIR ONDCP WASHDC
						C O N F I D E N T I A L MEXICO 003297 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/14/2016
TAGS: PREL KCRM SNAR MX
SUBJECT: ENGAGING THE NEW MEXICAN ADMINISTRATION ON LAW
ENFORCEMENT

REF: MEXICO 3296

Classified By: AMBASSADOR ANTONIO O. GARZA, JR., REASONS; 1.4(B/D)



1. (C) Summary: This is the second in a series of six cables
on transition issues in Mexico. We suggest three overarching
messages on law enforcement for the new administration.
First, the steadily improving cooperation over the last six
years represents a baseline, not an aberration. Second, we
still have not come far enough. Finally, Mexico must accept
that it faces a crisis in narcotics-related violence and
react accordingly. We propose a law enforcement summit with
the incoming administration where we can discuss all of these
issues in depth at a senior level. End summary.

Preserving Our Gains


--------------------------





2. (C) Law enforcement cooperation with Mexico is better
today than it has ever been. We are doing things together
that would have been unthinkable before the Fox
administration. Particularly if the transition is to a
different party in December, we face a very real risk of
backsliding. This could even happen if Fox's party remains
in Los Pinos. Decision-making in Mexican agencies is done at
the top and much depends on personal relationships. Changes
in leadership have even more far reaching consequences here
than in the U.S. If we want continuity in policy, we are
going to have to help create it.



3. (C) Engagement: This Mission plans to devote considerable
energy to briefing incoming Mexican officials on existing
programs, and the message from Washington should be that we
expect these programs to continue. We can and should spin it
positively but should make it clear we are not prepared to
return to the old ways of doing business nor are we willing
to put law enforcement cooperation on hold while a new
administration gets it bearings or reviews existing bilateral
cooperation mechanisms. The criminals are not going to pause
for the transition. The new administration will be anxious
for favorable U.S. comment on its initial efforts and needs
to understand that this requires that they continue to
cooperate in the ways to which we have become accustomed.



4. (C) Activities:

-- We should encourage retention of career law enforcement
personnel, particularly those below the director general
level.

-- We should push for continuing the strong working
relationship between DEA and the Office of the Attorney
General (PGR) Organized Crime Division (SIEDO) and Federal
Investigative Agency (AFI).

-- It is vital that we maintain the excellent cooperation
between FBI and USMS and the National Institute for Migration
(INM) and AFI, which has resulted in the deportation of
hundreds of fugitives.

-- We should make clear our interest in preserving

coordination with the Financial Intelligence Unit of the PGR
in combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and
narcotics trafficking and in maintaining the momentum in
financial investigations ICE has achieved with the PGR and
Mexican customs.

-- We need to signal our interest in cementing the rapidly
improving relationship with the Mexican Navy (SEMAR) on
interdiction; and encouraging the opening on cooperation that
we have seen with the Secretariat of National Defense
(SEDENA).

Moving to the Next Level


--------------------------





5. (C) In underscoring our desire to preserve the gains we
have made, we should not imply that the status quo is
satisfactory. We can do so much more. There remains a
tendency to view bilateral cooperation in antiquated terms.
For example, too many here see a threat to Mexico in a joint

U.S.-Mexico law enforcement operation but not in the
stranglehold that criminal organizations have on some parts
of Mexico. We are convinced, and there is poll data out
there to support the belief, that the Mexican Government lags
behind its people on this issue. Despite what many of those
who write editorials for Mexico City dailies would have us
believe, Mexicans seem more worried by criminals than by
fancied infringements on Mexican sovereignty by U.S. law
enforcement.



6. (C) Engagement: We need a commitment from the new
administration to sit down with us in the early days of the
administration to find ways to remove the remaining stumbling
blocks and work past outdated notions of sovereignty. Our
shared goal should be a law enforcement relationship that is
worthy of the North American partnership. For example, the
U.S. and Canada have joint law enforcement teams working on
the border. Why not the U.S. and Mexico? We need to
encourage the new administration to move boldly in its early
days.



7. (C) Activities:

-- The Fox administration has done much to professionalize
law enforcement, nevertheless, corruption remains an obstacle
to nearly everything we are trying to do here. This is true
at the federal level and more so at the state and local
level, particularly in border states where the pressures from
narcotics traffickers are especially strong. We should
encourage the new government to take a very hard look at how
it can accelerate anti-corruption efforts. This needs to be
a priority if Mexico is to continue to advance.

-- Extraditions have increased significantly in recent years
but have still not yielded a truly "big fish." Pending
reforms to Mexico's extradition law should be vigorously
backed by the new administration. This would allow the
temporary surrender of major traffickers so they can be tried
in the U.S. before serving their sentences here. The
administration needs to develop an additional set of reforms
to cut down on the frivolous appeals and delaying tactics
used by wealthy traffickers.

-- We are working well with the Mexican Navy at sea, but the
GOM continues to resist a formal maritime agreement.

-- In many areas of law enforcement, we continue to run into
the problem of providing intelligence but not getting any
feedback on how it is used. We sometimes find fairly routine
requests for assistance channeled back into needlessly
complicated and bureaucratic mechanisms such as the Mutual
Legal Assistance Treaty.

-- We need a mechanism to facilitate the quick exchange of
financial documentary evidence. Conservative estimates
suggest six billion dollars a year may be laundered in Mexico

-- We need permission from the GOM for international
controlled deliveries of bulk cash to develop investigations
in this area.

-- The GOM should also begin opening asset forfeiture
investigations against targets in Mexico designated under our
kingpin statute.

-- The GOM should move more aggressively against businesses
violating currency exchange regulations.

-- The GOM should consider establishment of working level
inter-agency task forces to address drug interdiction at
ports (land, sea, and air).

-- The new administration should support the AFI Operations
Center on Interdiction and Eradication.

-- DEA could usefully expand its methamphetamine programs
(e.g., training for first responders and development of
clandestine laboratory response teams).

--ATF has done much to address Mexican concerns about arms
trafficking, but we need to move forward with ATF's Southwest

Border Strategy to increase cooperation with the PGR, expand
Mexico's firearms tracing capabilities (E-Trace), enhance
training, and improve post-seizure analysis and intelligence
sharing.

Narcotics-Related Violence


--------------------------





9. (C) Mexico faces a crisis in narcotics-related violence.
Nuevo Laredo is not unique. The level of violence all along
the border is deeply alarming, as is the struggle among
cartels in states such as Guerrero and Michoacan. We believe
the GOM is acting in good faith, but it is trying to meet the
threat using law enforcement tools that are hopelessly
inadequate to the task.



10. (C) Engagement: We need Washington's help in impressing
upon the new administration at the outset that it must
recognize that it faces a crisis and act accordingly. It
cannot win by sending detachments of federal police to the
latest hot spot to set up checkpoints.



11. (C) Activities: There are many long-term institutional
reforms that need to be made, and some are already in motion,
particularly in the work that USAID is doing to support
justice sector reform. These reforms at the state level need
strong federal support, and federal reforms also need to be
pushed vigorously. However, this problem will not wait.

-- The new administration should be encouraged to move
quickly to propose an emergency regulatory or, if necessary,
legislative package to give law enforcement the tools it
needs, at least temporarily. Current rules for employing
electronic surveillance, protecting witnesses, dismantling
criminal organizations, extraditions, controlling cartel
leaders in prison, etc. are too restrictive.

-- The U.S. of course can help with intelligence, training,
expert advice, etc., but Mexico needs to act. Implicit in
this (and perhaps not so implicit) is the signal that the new
administration should not expect the USG to look the other
way while border cities explode in violence. We want Mexico
to take the gloves off in battling the cartels.

Law Enforcement Summit


--------------------------





12. (C) Because of the overriding importance of the law
enforcement issues, we recommend Washington consider what
would in effect be a law enforcement summit with the incoming
Mexican administration no later than January. Our proposal
is to invite the new Mexican team (tentatively PGR, SSP,
CISEN, SRE, SEDENA, and SEMAR) to the U.S. for meetings with
the Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security,
Department of State, FBI Director, and DEA Administrator.
This would be preceded by Embassy briefings here for the new
Mexican players (to establish the all-important baseline).
The public message would be that Mexico and the U.S. will
lose no ground to the criminals because of the transition;
the commitment to law enforcement cooperation transcends
administrations. We need to signal that law enforcement
cooperation will not only continue, it will increase.


Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity

GARZA