An official website of the United States Government 
Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

.gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S., Mexico Cooperate to Reduce Cross-Border Drug Flow

You have accessed part of a historical collection on Some of the information contained within may be outdated and links may not function. Please contact the DOD Webmaster with any questions.

The Defense Department's statutory mission is to serve as the single lead agency for the detection and monitoring of the aerial and maritime transit of illicit drugs into the United States. Cooperation with allies and partners, such as Mexico, is critical to that effort, said a DOD official.

A person in a police uniform climbs into a tunnel.
Task Force
The San Diego Tunnel Task Force, in collaboration with their enforcement counterparts in Mexico, uncovers two sophisticated tunnels used for smuggling. The tunnels connect commercial buildings in San Diego’s Otay Mesa industrial park in California (shown here) to warehouses in neighboring Tijuana, Mexico, April 3, 2014.
Photo By: Ron Rogers, Army
VIRIN: 140402-A-AB123-007

"Mexico remains the source of nearly all heroin seized in the United States and is a transit route for much of the cocaine available in our country," Matthew J. Flynn, deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics and global threats, said.

Moreover, Mexican cartels take advantage of uneven precursor chemical controls to manufacture deadly drugs, such as fentanyl and methamphetamine, inside of Mexico, which also make their way into the United States, he said.

A forklift operator offloads a drug pallet.
Crew Work
A Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton crewman offloads more than 18,700 pounds of cocaine, nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana and 15 gallons of liquefied cocaine worth more than $324 million at Port Everglades, Fla., April 3, 2020. The drugs were interdicted in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America. It includes contraband seized and recovered in 15 interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels by nine American and Canadian ships.
Photo By: Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally
VIRIN: 200403-G-TM873-1230M

"Despite the obstacles, Mexican law enforcement and military professionals, in cooperation with their U.S. counterparts, are bravely confronting the transnational criminal organizations that threaten both of our countries," Flynn added.

While much more remains to be done in the fight against Mexican cartels, it is important to recognize the efforts of the Mexican security forces that work daily to confront the transnational criminal organizations that threaten both the United States and Mexico, Flynn emphasized.

A flag flies above a memorial.
Mexican Flag
The Mexican flag flies over a Mexican navy memorial in Mexico City, Mexico.
Photo By: D. Myles Cullen, Army
VIRIN: 130220-A-VO565-003

Two recent seizures highlight the efforts of Mexican agencies to disrupt the cartels' illicit activities, he said. 

On Oct. 15, the Mexican army used radar data from a U.S.-provided radar in Hermosillo, a city in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora, to track a plane carrying drugs, Flynn said. 

A cutter intercepts a submarine.
Ocean Ops
Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf crewmembers inspect a low-profile semi-submersible in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Aug. 14, 2020. Cocaine worth an estimated $390 million was seized in 13 suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America between late May and late August 2020.
Photo By: U.S. Coast Guard
VIRIN: 200909-G-WE178-304M

Mexican soldiers moved to the area in which the plane appeared to land and seized a "poly-load" totaling 430 kilograms of assorted drugs: 56.6 kilograms of heroin, 4.1 kilograms of fentanyl, 177.2 kilograms of cocaine and 192.6 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, he said. 

On Oct. 20, the Mexican navy informed U.S. officials of a suspicious vessel off the coast of Colima state, Mexico, Flynn said. The Mexican navy maneuvered six of its vessels to the suspicious vessel, then boarded it and discovered 1.1 metric tons of cocaine.  

A Coast Guard vessel cruises the ocean.
Ocean Cruise
An artist's rendering depicts a Coast Guard vessel on patrol in the Pacific Ocean near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Photo By: Coast Guard
VIRIN: 201104-D-UB488-001M

A DOD official said that Mexican drug interdictions have been relatively low, and drug cartel violence remains at disturbingly high levels. "These organizations present a clear threat to Mexico and the Mexican government's ability to exert effective control over parts of its country."

Related Stories