“Our operations and intelligence, both the DEA and other agencies, like those of our partners in Mexico, are all concerned about this. El Chapo Guzmanis the target of our operations and investigations.
He is someone we’re focused, she said in an interview.
For the first time, Leonhart spoke about the DEA undercover operations performed in Mexico. He said that operations to infiltrate and track consistent drug trafficking and money laundering have contributed to “break the back” of the cartels, and Mexico has always been aware of deployment.
She considered that “President Calderon has the right strategy” to fight anti-crime, and said that work in both countries may continue despite the upcoming changes in the governments of Mexico and the United States.
Michele Leonhart, DEA director “We are breaking away from the cartels’
Says it will be a great day when El Chapo Guzman is captured, defends undercover operations and research indicates that the instance in charge always have done in Mexico with the knowledge of the Mexican government
Michele Leonhart, director of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) first spoke about the covert operations that the U.S. government drug agency made in Mexico and were revealed by the newspaper The New York Times a month and a half.
In an interview with Excelsior, the official defended the operations of drug trafficking and money laundering that the DEA used to infiltrate criminal groups in Mexico.
She said that by including the DEA has helped to “break the back” of the cartels and that a measure of its success is the arrest of half of the top kingpins worldwide, many of whom have been extradited to the United States.
Leonhart, who is director of the agency since December 2010, although he had been leading it since October 2007, pending ratification by the Senate, had words commendable for their counterparts in Mexico.
He said that the current relationship between the DEA and the Mexican government “unprecedented” in the last 40 years. He expressed his confidence in collaboration and support strategies to combat organized crime in Mexico, which he said, “have had successes.”
He admitted that both governments could do a better job of reporting on their successes, but said that the fact of working with undercover sources often makes it difficult to speak about it without putting lives in danger and without compromising operations.
Leonhart said that research done in Mexico DEA always have the knowledge and participation of the Mexican government, which contrasts with the statement on 11 December by presidential spokeswoman Alejandra Sota, who told Univision that Mexican authorities were not aware of the covert operations revealed by the Times a week earlier and would be extended on 9 January.
A graduate of Bemidji State University, a small house of studies in northern Minnesota-famous professional players of ice hockey have been there-Leonhart is a veteran DEA agent, where he enlisted in 1980 after a brief stay in the Baltimore police.
In the 90’s was responsible for operations in the southwestern United States, the position from which contributed to the dismantling of the Arellano Felix clan.
On the future of the relationship with Mexico, Leonhart predicted in an interview that the cooperation would continue, despite the fact that both countries will have elections this year.
“We are all concerned about drug trafficking, so what concerns us is to develop an anti-drug association, refine techniques, to develop intelligence, whatever happens on the political scene of our two countries, have few enforcement officials and Dedicated justice have the tools they need. “
The following is the text of the interview:
– How will the DEA’s relationship with Mexico?
-We have had unprecedented relationship with the Mexican government, especially with the SSP (Ministry of Public Security), which leads Genaro Garcia Luna, as well as other agencies in Mexico.
“We have almost 40 years working with our Mexican counterparts, but never before have we seen such a relationship, joint collaboration, exchange of information, shared concerns.
“We have come to understand that we have the same goals, and these organized crime groups have no respect for borders and are doing damage to one side of the border, so the best solution for us is to cooperate and work together, share techniques, methods, intelligence and make joint investigations.
“When I was a young officer, I worked on the border in San Diego, as a supervisor of the group, and in that time we have very good intelligence on organizations operating in Mexico, but had partners who inspires us the confidence to share that information.
“But now an agent can work on the border, or in Chicago or Detroit, and know that that information can be shared with the very reliable and talented researchers who are in Mexico and that it will have positive consequences for our common goals. It is a round connection that has an impact both in the U.S. and Mexico.
“There is an evolution and we have become better at refining our intelligence sharing, and platforms have different ways of developing and sharing information, especially with the SSP, we trust. We know we can give them information and they will use it in good research.
“So now, thanks to this company that did not exist years ago, we learned much about these traffickers, such as the Arellano Felix organization. Now there are two partners to develop better information sharing, and there is mutual respect on both sides of the border. It’s the only way to break away from the cartels: working together. And that is what has really been happening in recent years. “
‘As you know, in Mexico there has been criticism of the way the government has been fighting the cartels. Does the DEA that the Mexican government has done the best way? Do you think there settings that can be done?
-The DEA has been in business for 40 years and believe that President Calderon and his government have the right strategy. They realize that it is necessary to pursue these organizations, and our experience as DEA has been that when you’re behind them with the best results.
“The Mexican government has been steadfast in his determination to break his back to the cartels and has had success. If there is something to criticize one side of the border on the research we perform, we work with covert operations and sources, and that makes it not easy to share that information without putting lives at risk without exposing or research before are completed.
“I think our two countries should do a better job of reporting on these achievements.
“In the recent visit made me Genaro Garcia Luna, I realized that there have studied the data to determine which of their strategies, which we support have the greatest impact. Now there is evidence that they are making a difference.
So if there is something to adjust, I would say is to let the public know that it’s not just the number of murders, you have to see what was before the homicide rate, how effective are these organizations to move their product and money and infiltrate markets in Mexico and the United States.
“When you see that, the conclusion is that we have had significant success since late 2006 and we are breaking their backs on these cartels, together.”
-Let me ask covert operations by the DEA in Mexico, which has released The New York Times . Do you think you have been successful?
-When we see that there are strategies or techniques are unsuccessful, we may be or how we do them.
“I think that the techniques we used, especially covert operations are the most effective way to put us in the midst of these organizations and are the more impact they have.
“With all the research we do an evaluation, we try to improve them, and what we have learned is that these joint operations, we do not only in Mexico but in other parts of the world, have great success when we work together and we turn techniques that work and have been used for many years and we’ve perfected.
One of the achievements that can be observed, and that gives pride to our country, is that in Mexico, Colombia and other South American countries have been able to apprehend the worst and biggest drug kingpins around the world.
“When one focuses on bosses, which we call CPOT (Consolidated Primary Targets Organization), we can see that we have perfected our techniques and we have hunted since 2002 or so. And of all those who have been identified, it is surprising that, nearly ten years later, we could process more than 75 percent of the worst and largest in the world, we have arrested more than 50 percent of them, and a data remarkable to me is that more than 35 percent of them have been extradited to the United States.
“Those are hard statistics show that these efforts, which not only have to give credit to the DEA but law enforcement agencies in many countries, are serving nations affected by organized crime. I’m talking about Mexico, I’m talking about Colombia and other South American countries.
“And now these same techniques are being shared and used by our counterparts in Europe, because they are now seeing cocaine shipments going there, the same things we’ve seen here in the United States. So now the DEA and other agencies and our counterparts in Mexico and Colombia, are sharing these techniques with counterparts elsewhere in the world, to perform the same job of connecting the dots and use all available tools to prosecute these organizations to remove the power and reduce in size, so that these large organizations become smaller trafficking groups that can be attacked by the authorities of local law enforcement. “
-In Washington there are concerns about the future role of the relationship. Both countries have elections this year. The opposition parties in Mexico have not been very clear about their strategies and what they think about the cooperation. Do you fear that politics will interfere?
-For us, as well as anyone in the world anti-drug policy is not a factor. We are all concerned about drug trafficking, so what concerns us is to develop an anti-drug association, refine techniques, to develop intelligence, whatever happens on the political scene of our two countries, we get a few officials and law enforcement Dedicated to have the tools they need.
“It will be very difficult for someone to remove them once we have developed and proven to work. What we think is that all the successes we have seen in the past five or six years will continue regardless of what happens politically either side of the border.
“Our mission, says a drug agent with 31 years of experience, is to pursue those organizations. We do not get involved in politics. We just know we have work to do for our country safe.
“I know that Genaro Garcia Luna agrees. What we do is stare at those organizations that try to have an impact on our two countries. We use the techniques and work together, we respect and we have a shared responsibility and mutual trust, without prejudice to the jurisdiction of each country. And that has nothing to do with politics. “
– Were you surprised that President Calderon’s spokeswoman said that the Mexican government learned of these covert operations?
‘What I would say about our association, without getting into specific issues, is that we do operations and research and if they have connection with Mexico talk with our Mexican counterparts and they make the decisions.
“We respect the laws and authorities of each person. We have mechanisms for undercover investigations and other projects as well as rules and protocols agreed to work together. So if we are conducting an operation in Mexico we are doing together with our Mexican counterparts. “
– How important is for the DEA find Joaquin El Chapo Guzman?
‘I can tell you that our operations and intelligence, both the DEA and other U.S. agencies, like those of our partners in Mexico are all Pre-occupied with this. We all like to see it stopped. Is the target of our operations and research and will be a great day when we can stop it. He is someone we are focused, but at the same time we focus on all the posters.
-Being focused on all cartels, are there some that are a priority for the DEA, either for violence or for other reasons?
We believe that all are dangerous and they are all white. We will use all our resources and efforts to pursue them. All have an impact not only in Mexico but the United States.
– What do you think the cartels, to break or be arrested their leaders, often become more violent?
-A good example is what happened when disrupted the cartels in Colombia. What Genaro Garcia Luna has shown that when strategies are being pursued for the first time to these organizations, from top to bottom, and make arrests, will be some violence because the people who is fighting for positions and territory.
“What I generates optimism is that we are seeing the same thing in Mexico than in Colombia was, that these organizations end up losing their power and influence leaders and groups become smaller and less strong. And that’s very important, because the large cartels generate more money and are more likely to corrupt institutions.
“When one pursues them and breaks down, trying to reconstitute themselves but are less powerful, do not have the resources they had, and one of the first things that hurt them is their lack of ability to corrupt and use their money, influence and resources to get away with it. We saw that in Colombia, we have seen in other parts of the world, and now we are seeing in Mexico. And that’s a good sign because it means that these organizations are less powerful than in the past, and will eventually be a problem for law enforcement and criminal groups are only those who can deal with law enforcement techniques and law enforcement agencies. “
Reflectors on the hood
As for Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, head of the Sinaloa cartel, was reported last week that the Treasury Department’s U.S. drug trafficker “world’s most powerful.”
“The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC, for its acronym in English) will continue working with our police and their foreign counterparts to help disrupt and eventually dismantle the criminal empire of El Chapo Guzman, “said Adam J. Szubin, director of that office.
“This is the fourth time in the last year that (the) OFAC has focused and exposed support structures of the organization led by El Chapo Guzman, the world’s most powerful drug, “said the holder of that office.
Almost a year ago, while participating in Cancun, Quintana Roo, on 18 th International Conference of Drug Enforcement (IDEC, for its acronym in English), Michele Leonhart said that all countries are “concerned about the long-range” that have won the drug cartels in Mexico.
The head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency said at the time, ie in April 2011 that the governments of 103 countries that participated in this meeting are concerned about the power of Mexican cartels.
He also emphasized the results of the fight against drugs in Mexico.
Michele Leonhart, and Genaro Garcia Luna agreed nearly a year in the 18 International Conference of Drug Enforcement (IDEC, for its acronym in English). In the interview today introduces this newspaper, the director of the DEA’s work emphasizes collaboration and scope of the Department of Public Safety.