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US and Mexico vow to step up joint efforts to fight drug cartels

May 23, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
US and Mexico vow to step up joint efforts to fight drug cartels

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Last week, the U.S. and Mexico vowed to increase efforts to collectively combat transnational drug cartels who traffic opioids, which are causing epidemic numbers of overdose fatalities on both sides of the border.

Rex Tillerson, the U.S. Secretary of State, and his Mexican counterpart Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray announced in a joint press conference in Washington D.C. that each side must take ownership of their part in launching the major binational crisis.

Mexico’s drug-enforcement agency indicated that drug cartels had expanded the production of synthetic opioids by 400% in the last five years.

Largest narco-laboratory in Mexico recently discovered in remote part of Sinaloa

“America must confront the reality that we are the market. We Americans must own this problem,” Tillerson stated.

According to the CDC, the opioid problem is an epidemic. Since 2002, the opioid overdose death rate has close to tripled. At the Nogales border point of entry, opioid seizures coming from Mexico have also increased, according to Teresa Small, a Border and Customs official.

“In the fiscal year 2016, we seized 40 pounds of opioids. We have seized twice that amount in the first five months of this year.”

The Mexican government said that in the past decade, roughly 20,000 Mexican soldiers have been killed while battling the cartels. In the U.S., almost 20,000 deaths were attributed to opioid overdoses in 2015.

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