Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Pentagon bolsters US training in Mexico's drug fight

Friday, January 18, 2013 |

Borderland Beat

By Kimberly Dozier

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is stepping up aid for Mexico's bloody drug war with a new U.S.-based special operations headquarters to teach Mexican security forces how to hunt drug cartels the same way special operations teams hunt al-Qaida, according to documents and interviews with multiple U.S. officials.

Such assistance could help newly elected Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto establish a military force to focus on drug criminal networks that have terrorized Mexico's northern states and threatened the Southwest U.S. border.

Mexican officials say warring drug gangs killed at least 70,000 people between 2006 and 2012.

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, said he worries that the planned aid to Mexico would continue a drug war he believes has been a failure and might have unintended consequences.

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, said such a program will make both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border safe and could possibly give Mexicans who have fled their country for safety concerns a chance to return home.




Based at the U.S. Northern Command in Colorado, Special Operations Command-North will build on a commando program that has brought Mexican military, intelligence and law enforcement officials to study U.S. counterterrorist operations from the U.S. to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, to show them how special forces troops built an interagency network to target al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden and his followers.

The special operations team within Northcom will be turned into a new headquarters, led by a general instead of a colonel, and was established in a Dec. 31 memo signed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. That move gives the group more autonomy, and the number of people could eventually triple from 30 to 150, meaning the headquarters could expand its training missions with Mexican personnel, even though no new money is being assigned to the mission.The special operations program has already helped Mexican officials set up their own intelligence center in Mexico City to target criminal networks, patterned after similar centers in war zones built to target al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Iraq, two current U.S. officials said.

Mexican and U.S. military officials played down the change, and it's unclear whether the Mexican government will agree to boost its training.

"We are merely placing a component commander in charge of things we are already doing," said Northcom spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis in a written statement.
Mexico's Foreign Affairs Department emailed a statement saying it had been briefed on the changes and had no further comment.

The creation of the new command is another expansion of Adm. Bill McRaven's special operations empire. The San Antonio native seeks to migrate special operators from their decade of service in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan to new missions, even as the rest of the military fights post-war contraction and multi-billion-dollar budget cuts.

The new headquarters will also coordinate special operations troops when needed for domestic roles such as rescuing survivors after a natural disaster, or helping the U.S. Coast Guard strike ships carrying suspect cargo just outside U.S. territorial waters, according to multiple current and former U.S. officials briefed on the mission. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Pentagon has not formally announced the new headquarters.
The initial document petitioning Panetta for the command stresses the command's role in military-to-military cooperation with Mexico. The document was signed in September 2012 by McRaven and Northcom commander Gen. Charles Jacoby.

Northcom's current special operations training missions are an outgrowth of the Mérida Initiative, which was formalized in 2008, to provide extensive military assistance to Mexico. The extra special operations staff, including both troops and civilians, will help coordinate more missions as Mexico requests them, current and former officials said.
Peña Nieto is likely to welcome the continued training to help him build and coordinate the forces he needs to reduce drug violence, according to Rand Corp.'s Agnes Gereben Schaefer.

"He has talked about setting up a paramilitary force É made up of former military and police forces, which he has described as more surgical" than the current campaign by the Mexican army and police, Schaefer said. He would dispatch the force into towns that have been overrun by drug violence, where police don't have the numbers to fight it, she said.
O'Rourke, who has proposed legalizing marijuana as a way of de-funding cartels, is a skeptic of the Mérida Initiative and of the larger war on drugs.

"The war on drugs has been a failure, and I don't like the idea of committing more resources to it," he said Thursday from his Washington, D.C., office. "But I'd like to be briefed on (the new plan to assist Mexican authorities) before I make a decision about it."
O'Rourke is also concerned that the U.S. might share secret intelligence and techniques with the Mexican government, only to see them end up in the hands of the cartels.
"That would not be without precedent," he said.

Mexican military, intelligence and law enforcement chiefs have already toured the Joint Special Operations Command headquarters at Fort Bragg in North Carolina to see how U.S. officers coordinate efforts by special operations aircraft, naval vessels and air- and sea-based raiders, according to one current military official.

A small group of top Mexican military and intelligence officials also visited the command's targeting center at the Balad air base in Iraq before the U.S. troop withdrawal there in 2011, a former U.S. official said.

U.S. officials stress that sharing this expertise does not mean U.S. special operations teams will be conducting raids against targets in Mexico, nor will they be entering the country with their own weapons. Mexico forbids U.S. military or law enforcement officers to carry guns inside their borders, with few exceptions, though American commandos have conducted training missions in the past, two current and one former U.S. military official said. They were speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss such sensitive missions.

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67 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

O'Rourke is also concerned that the U.S. might share secret intelligence and techniques with the Mexican government, only to see them end up in the hands of the cartels.
"That would not be without precedent," he said.
And, that will ALWAYS be the case, even though there are SOME mexicans that want to do the right thing, too many have no love for the US, believe that their way is best, and would love to see the US crumble more. Plus, greed...the love of money is strong, and the cartels have it. So, what is the solution ? Help mexico and hurt ourselves more?

Anonymous said...

I thought we learned from training Los Zetas that put themselves up for sale to the Gulfas and then defected and changed the world for the worse. Everyone needs to learn from their mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Hell yeah!!! This is Americas way of putting its foot in the door. Won't be long till were an occupying force. Then where will the pussies with chainsaws hide? Armored trucks won't save chapos ass from a predator strike. It's common sense vatos. If Mexico can't control itself big brother will spank that ass.

Anonymous said...

Finally the real massacres can begin

Anonymous said...

Sounds like zetas 2.0

Anonymous said...

I wonder what cartel these guys will go work for? Obama at his best

Anonymous said...

Why waste our resources, their SO-CALLED Law Enforcement and SO-CALLED Military Forces are a huge part of the drug problem...THEY ARE ALL ON THE PAYROLL

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me! Just lock down the god damn border and have them start checking every truck for drugs and search out tunnels. Fuck training anyone else that will end up in a cartel someday anyhow, just protect our fucking borders, CBP, ATF, ICE are a joke, WTF is the US Govt thinking???

Anonymous said...

Training Mexican SEALs at our Special Forces Camps to go back and serve in a corrupt military. What could go wrong?

Anonymous said...

This guys don't need any training they already know how to kill innocent people

Anonymous said...

If they want to show them how to mass murder innocent people don't train them just send them to irak

Anonymous said...

"to teach Mexican security forces how to hunt drug cartels the same way special operations teams hunt AL-Qaeda" = 1) predator drone strikes that kill thousands of innocent civilians 2)A strategy that only makes them stronger, sympathetic to the people, and harder to detect 3)Human Rights abuses, corruption, and degradation of civil liberties. 4)low intensity warfare against the population.

Nothing good can come of this. We are going to make an enemy out of a people that are our friends. And we will be creating a "beast" which, quite frankly, we will not be able to handle on either side of the border.

Anonymous said...

Poor Mexico...so far from God....so close to the United States.

Anonymous said...

Vietnamization of Mexico: IN PROGRESS

Anonymous said...

How can it not go wrong? It may be a wsy to get more assault arms in Mexico. That Rep. Vela sure must have high hopes for these fighters if he really saw the severity of narco infiltration in varying points of the border. I mean they'd be fighing BL/Chapo Isidro/Meza Flores Mess, los Aztecas, juarez cartel, Los Zetas and Gulf and CT / LFM faction seem to be controlling central texas narcomina- who do they piggie back on seeing they hate Z-40. What route or plaza do they utilize? Or am i wrong? Maybe they pay fees and don't deal with plaza just distributing up north. I betcha el Soldado won't be helping with this ????

Anonymous said...

From a law enforcement stand point I disagree with US training Mexican forces. The cartels will end up paying them more and hire them for their own services. Maybe they won't buy all of them but, those that turn to the bad side will be a big problem.

Anonymous said...

But@12:18 we already know how to kidnap, torture, burn alive innocents, remember, we live in Mexico because you guys forbid us to live in our own country, surely you didn't already forget?

Anonymous said...

Excatly train the Mexican military so the narco with most money can lure them buy them off... Hunt Chapo Guzman just like BinLaden !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I strongly agree with building a huge wall along the border and nothing goes through. Hey if my neighbor wants to come into my property he better come knock on my front door. I dont care if he doesnt like my fence.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha i like the way the U.S. always tries to make it look like they're helping out! BULLSHIT!!!

Anonymous said...

Might be wrong but werb't the Zeta founders trained in the US ???

Anonymous said...

Quick question... are they going to start a new body count now that culo prieto, I mean pena nieto is in power??

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe with all the technology and resources the US has, we cannot just stop incoming shipments.

Let them produce it and we snatch it away. F trying to find the bosses or low level street thugs.

I know it sounds easier said than done, but WTF do these guys do for 8 hours a day?

Anonymous said...

here's another one:
http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=330917

Anonymous said...

So if mexico has ther troops train u kno the first to. Get train will be chapos seals , good job let's make them more unstoppable ..and how long will it take to catch this cartel guys .the same time it toke US to catch bin Ladin !

Anonymous said...

Guess we didn't learn jack shit from the zetas... Corrupt ass mexican government can't be trusted with jack shit, doesn't everyone already know that?

Anonymous said...

http://www.diariodeiguala.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4501:rescatan-civiles-armados-a-un-policia-levantado-por-sicarios&catid=21:policiaca&Itemid=72

Anonymous said...

@10:13- No seas pendejo. The Mexican constitution explicitly forbids foreign armies on Mexican soil.

Anonymous said...

as long as the specially trained are specially paid then do it!!!!...fight fire with fire...an old metallica classic.

Anonymous said...

You are a very stupid human being.

Anonymous said...

Cual quier mexicano Que apoye esto es un traidor a la patria y se acordaran de la familia michoacana. Pena nietos gestapo police. Poder a la gente de la tierra!

Anonymous said...

"That would not be without precedent," he said."

Eveything you feed to Mexico also feeds the mouths of the cartels. How many times before this lesson is learned??

Anonymous said...

Sounds like they are playing this down to the point of barely announcing it. I'm glad you put it on here. It isn't blood and gore as we all prefer, but it'll lead to some cartel carnage before long if all goes as planned. Good to have all of us knowing Mexicans enforcement teams will be kinda ah back optized - so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Longest war the U.S. has had--and failed--"The War on Drugs"! Until U.S. government corruption is confronted how will they help stop other countries corruption. All they do is teach other governments how to be corrupt! The U.S. is definately #1 in corruption.

Anonymous said...

That's why they'll train in Colorado

Anonymous said...

When you are talking $50+billion/year business do you think the DHS,ATF,DEA,CIA,politicians on both sides of the border do not want their share of these tax-free dollars?

Anonymous said...

Hey dumbass (big brother ) aka the DEA is in bed with the Sinaloa cartel buddy. It's for both greater interest

Anonymous said...

Oh they bolster, alright. They pour in arms, donate to media hacks, and assist gargantuan corporations in moving most of the drugs and money. Get your heads out of the comic books.

Anonymous said...

I feel ashamed of being a United States citizen time and time again thts why I left to Australia <3

Anonymous said...

3:28 you know I'm right, all of you know I'm right. The people thinking were gonna train them to be seals are the stupid ones. Look at Iraq, we trained their army and police force. The part you miss is that the training they receive is less than our standard basic training. They might learn land nav and get some rifle training. But the good stuff is never passed on. Also people don't assume that because the Mexican constitution bans foreign armies and armed Americans on its soil that this will in anyway stop our forces. When the violence becomes a problem for Americans on the border states the Abrahms tanks will roll into the guts of Mexico. Look at history and the current wars and how we handle them and tell me I'm wrong. The world is becoming unified, which makes criminals an endangered species. And were the lumberjacks hacking back the forest they live in.

Anonymous said...

Los zetas all over again

Anonymous said...

U r absolutely right it does, it doesn't say anything about these corporate armies tho, they took over decades ago ,that's why Mexicans pay triple what they should for gas coal and all their basic food basket what many of us fail to grasp our common heads around is that we don't need an army on Mexican soil Mexico is economically occupied already just like the rest of the third world countries this whole thing is bigger than chapo and zeta 40 or whoever its all about the your bbwv your wells Fargo and them its about your shells and no oils theyr the ones getting the big cut from this narco stuff they keep our minds busy worried about the violence while they laugh their ass all the way to the bank

Anonymous said...

Till this day I still don't know who is really profitingfrom all this I can't help but wonder who's supplying the Mexican authorities with all their equipment ,these Ford trucks all this guns and ammo their ready to eat meals down to the laces on their boots , shit even the people that clean these sicarios brains off the side walks, where do they get their body bags from does anybody know??? Does anyone care ???

Anonymous said...

LOL ignorance is bliss. @4:57

Anonymous said...

They kill for profits, if the US govt equipped me I would gladly do it free of charge. There would be nothing more gratifying than seeing the look in a murderous cartel leaders face. As he starts to realise he's human like the rest of us. They decapitate and dismember people without honor. They hide in fear driving around in armoured trucks. No respect is given to these dogs. A billion dollars is toilet paper in America. Yes I rant, but I'm sickened by this filth. And I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Anonymous said...

Nah it was Felipe culeron that started at this shit so the body count should be all his. He walked into this mess like Obama did in office.Let's see how many dumb asses comment about me.The truth hurts don't it???Keep denieing Bush's and republicans dumb ass actions.Now we're all playing for it.
U.S.A. Sticking their nose mexicos shit look at what happened with the Zetas.We have a corrupt government in Mexico at all level.Think about that.

Anonymous said...

Mamalos! La familia michoacana son puros punetas que no pueden sobrevivir honestamente. O sea "perdedores como todos los trafiques".

Anonymous said...

U have to be the biggest dumbass in the world to think the DEA, CIA, ATF, FBI, SS, has to answer to a coutry that does not even show up in the top 10. Look again idiot.

Anonymous said...

That would make u a killer just like them so how r u any better than them?? if anything you would be worse they do it for profit you would kill them for fun

Anonymous said...

Ohh so their gonna train them so then they can be bought. I dont know if these politicians are stupid or is it that they know that we are to stupid to stop them. come on people its these buissnesmen who make these phony wars that bring so much spoils. we hire buissnesmen for president these countries have turnd to corporations. a few moves here and there everyday could stop these basterds but one person cant do it on their own we have to group up. work in the shadows part time so we wont have as much casualtys sure its difficult but one dosent look into the abyss expecting it to wave back.

Anonymous said...

¿Un Pregunta?

How many of the above people actually live here in México? I wonder...

Likhon said...

That's why they'll train in Colorado.Eveything you feed to Mexico also feeds the mouths of the cartels. How many times before this lesson is learned?

Anonymous said...

January 19, 2013 at 12:51 PM
"How many of the above people actually live here in México? I wonder"
Well seeing as its an English speaking blog,there may well be a few who don't live in Mexico,,what do you think?"the cartel shit is ours,why are they talkin bout it"Fuckin plank.

Anonymous said...

Me refiero a la descabesada no al cartel. Cuando la guerra se destape cualquier cartel Que se opongan a la gente sedan destruidos ya Que todo el pueblo estara con nosotros

Anonymous said...

what special forces is most likely going to teach them about is like building their own network of human intelligence, black ops, and identifying hostile neighbor hoods. like as you cruise all the hoods and when you in hostile you know because the people are scared to associate with you and you then know to target that area.

~~~el spaceio~~~

Anonymous said...

Mexican Army soldiers trained in Benning and Bragg in Infantry tactics but the had to be officers, enlisted men were not allowed.

Anonymous said...

January 19, 2013 at 10:18 PM
"Me refiero a la descabesada no al cartel"
I apologize bro,i jumped to a conclusion too quickly,sorry bout that.Saludos an cuidate

Anonymous said...

Well we might as well give them straight to chapo and the rest of them thats where they r going anyway. No love for the u.s? Then stay the hell in mexico and stop coming here if u dont like us.sure we have our problems here and lots of them but at least we have the right to shoot back at the criminals here.no legal guns in mx for the citizens?hows that working out for u guys

Anonymous said...

when the meridan plan started, right away videos of torture thaught by the us service man towards mexican officials. coincidencially torture sky rocketed. the assault rifle ban stops,mexico is floded with assault rifles, cal 50's and mroe weapons. the special training forcesthat deserted where us train and now are the zetas. i CAN GUARANTEE WE WILL SEE SOMETHING NEW FUCKING UP MEXICO SOON. IF THE US SIMPLY LEGALIZE DRUGS, BAN THE RIFLES THE VIOLENCE IN MEXICO WILL DRASTICALLY WILL DROP. FOLLOW THE EVENTS, THE BIG PICTURE IS THERE. PEOPLE JUST NEEED 2 READ.

Anonymous said...

"IF THE US SIMPLY LEGALIZE DRUGS,BAN THE RIFLES THE VIOLENCE IN MEXICO WILL DRASTICALLY WILL DROP"
Oh man,shut up,its Mexicans killing Mexicans,stop blaming every other thing you can think of.This problem been there since before the fuckin US had teeth.Stop pullin that shit its old man.Take that cash stream away you fool and its gonna be 10 times worse,fuck is it always the US fault?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the start of a new Zeta group!

Anonymous said...

yep the Zeta-ZetasZ3's coming to a town near you.

Lazcano still alive ci

Anonymous said...

Im not just a blogger , Im a student i stusy tris shit because it affects me as I am Mexican and it affects my people Mexican people. I have read , seem many scholar journals talking about this isse and they always say and prove prohibition doesn't work,. The us mafias such as alcapone started was by liquor prohibition. Now we have a war on drugs Aja pehobition . And yes mexicans are killing mexicans trying to profit off a black drug American market. Even the president of Mexico said if we legalize drugs nothing willchange until the US changes it's policys until then things will change. Many country have tried to legalize drugs guess what. the us has rapidly opposed it. Why? It doesn't go with their national interest. F weapons weren't easy obtainable then murders wouldn't rapidly kill 20 at once.

And why is always the Us fault? Open a history book talk to historians and ask them " what I the us never intervened the way it has around the world, how would be live today?" guarantee you 99% of them would say much Much Better

Anonymous said...

January 23, 2013 at 12:18 PM
How many Mexicans would you say feel the same kind of antagonism to the US?To me it is completely irrational,you have a growing drug market of your own,the US helps with some economic aid,with training soldiers,with covert help,technology,all these things are always thrown back in the face of the US?I can hear you now"they are only doing to it to have a malevolent influence in Mexico"Your own words are idiotic in the extreme,the US was trying to help train special soldiers as many countries around the world do,but no,your soldiers decided to betray Mexico herself.Nothing to do with the US.Yet,look at your thought on that?You flipped it.
If many Mexicans feel the same as you,why should the US help someone who hates them with a passion,not to mention an endemic racism.You try to sound intelligent,you don't,your views are tainted by jingoism and hatred.For your own faults you should take the blame which you will not recognize,is corruption also the fault of the US?Surely not all Mexicans think as you?It truly is sad if they do and we are doomed to be in this situation of mistrust for ever.

Anonymous said...

el chapo its going go get rid of los zetas u watch he said it him self.

Anonymous said...

USA should use every resorce we have to push american borders as far south as there is real estate...use our american military tools to do to all the south what we did to germany in wwii. nuke it all till it glows and bomb the bright spots. stop fighting in other continents and take over NORTH america. Put a final end to the south border bulls..t once and for all. American military FINALLY doing something for AMERICA...what a concept!!!

Anonymous said...

I think that the US should send troops, to take care of the problem, instead of sharing our weapones with Mexico

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