Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville peace talks suspended

Read more

ENCORE!

High-tech acting king Andy Serkis on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Read more

REPORTERS

Hong Kong in rebellion against the 'motherland'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza: children caught up in the conflict

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Was the UN chief’s speech in Tel Aviv really a 'shameful message'?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France concerned about anti-Semitism

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online movement demands peace in Gaza

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Apple aims to satisfy China's hunger for smartphones

Read more

  • UN human rights chief blasts Israel-Gaza ‘war crimes’

    Read more

  • Gaza protests: ‘France imported the Mideast conflict a long time ago’

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks kill ‘scores’ in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Poland’s Rafal Majka wins 17th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Remains of Flight MH17 victims arrive in the Netherlands

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

  • TransAsia Airways Taiwan crash leaves dozens dead

    Read more

  • Video: Fear, death and mourning in Gaza’s Khan Younis

    Read more

  • Young riders raise French hopes for Tour de France

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with warships sale to Russia

    Read more

  • Kerry arrives in Israel to push for Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • US courts issue conflicting reports on Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

Americas

US drones join fight against Mexican cartels

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-03-16

The US has begun sending drones into Mexico to gather intelligence on the country's drug cartels, signalling growing concern about the Mexican government's ability to deal with the deadly scourge of drug trafficking.

AFP - The United States has begun sending unarmed drones deep into Mexico to gather intelligence about powerful drug cartels in order to assist local authorities, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper said US President Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon formally agreed to the high-altitude missions in a meeting on March 3 but have kept it secret because of possible political and legal constraints.

It cited unnamed US officials as saying that the drones gathered vital information leading to Mexico's arrest of several suspects in last month's killing of US immigration and customs agent Jaime Zapata, 32.

Such a program would suggest rising concerns about the Mexican government's ability to bring the cartels to heel through a massive military crackdown launched by Calderon in 2006.

Since then more than 34,600 people have been killed in drug-related violence that has engulfed the country, especially areas along the US border where rival gangs battle over lucrative trade routes to the north.

"It wasn’t that long ago when there was no way the DEA could conduct the kinds of activities they are doing now," Mike Vigil, a retired chief of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, told the Times.

"And the only way they’re going to be able to keep doing them is by allowing Mexico to have plausible deniability."

The Times quoted a senior US official as saying that all "counternarcotics activities were conducted at the request and direction of the Mexican government."

It quoted both Mexican and US officials as saying that Mexico has been turning a blind eye to US wiretapping of the telephones of drug suspects and to US agents carrying weapons in violation of longstanding Mexican restrictions.

Mexican and US officials said that their joint efforts had led to the capture or killing of at least 20 high-level drug traffickers, including 12 in the last year alone, the Times reported.

However, past high-profile arrests have had little impact on the ground.

On Tuesday a six-truck convoy of gunmen pursuing a marked man shot dead six people, including two children aged two and six, during a rampage through the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco, state officials said.

And in northeastern Mexico a car bomb exploded outside a police station and a children's playground, wounding a woman and a police officer.
 

Date created : 2011-03-16

  • MEXICO

    Beheaded bodies discovered in holiday resort of Acapulco

    Read more

  • MEXICO

    Mexican military seizes marijuana haul worth $340 million

    Read more

COMMENT(S)