Mexico wants progress on US extraditions, arms trafficking

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Mexico said it wants to see more US action on extraditions and weapons trafficking at security meetings scheduled for Friday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Mexicos top diplomat said on Tuesday that he wants to see faster extraditions of suspects from the United States and fewer guns coming across the border. It is important that you, United States, take effective, efficient actions to drastically reduce the illegal trafficking of weapons, said Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.

Ebrard also called for quick judicial assistance, suggesting that while Mexico had extradited suspects quickly to the United States, it wasnt the same pace the other way around. Extraditions should have the same speed from there to here, as from here to there, something that is not the case right now, Ebrard said.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has also been near-obsessed with two points: first, that he wants the US government to contribute to expanding the Mexican governments tree-planting scheme, as a way to pay farmers and prevent them from being recruited by drug gangs. The US has so far apparently been cool to the idea.

Secondly, López Obrador wants more of the illicit money tracked and seized in the United States from Mexican suspects to be returned to Mexico.

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Ebrard suggested both points would be on the agenda.

In the case of the flow of money, what has happened regarding the tracing of the money? There have been few results there, he said.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is also scheduled to attend the talks in Mexico City, though Ebrard said migration wont be on the main agenda. Ebrard and López Obrador have declared an end to the previous US-Mexico cooperation scheme, known as the Merida Initiative. Both have said Mexico doesnt want handouts of military or police equipment, but rather a more equal relationship.

Its about mutual respect. If you dont respect me, I dont respect you. If we do not respect each other, it is going to be very difficult to get something done, Ebrard said.

While the Merida Initiative did initially focus on giving Mexico aircraft in the early years after it was implemented in 2008, in its later years it was focused more on law enforcement training and professionalisation.

US officials, on the other hand, are expected to focus on issues like the increasing trafficking of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which is largely produced in Mexico from precursor chemicals imported from China.

Mexican cartels press the fentanyl into counterfeit pills that contain wildly varying and often lethal doses of the potent opioid.

Overdose deaths in the United States rose to over 93,000 in 2020, and almost 70,000 of those were linked to opioids.

While the two nations have cooperated on issues like migration, recent cooperation in the fight against drug cartels has been mixed.

Mexico has limited the operation of foreign agents and withdrawn their immunity, and López Obrador has said his administration is no longer looking to detain drug lords.


(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

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