Memorandum on Cooperation With Mexico on Drug Control
Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
Subject: Strengthening Drug Control Cooperation with Mexico
This memorandum is to direct actions that will be taken by executive departments and agencies to improve the effectiveness of United States-Mexico drug control cooperation.
The Seriousness of the Drug Trafficking Threat to the United States and Mexico:
Drug abuse and drug trafficking pose enormous threats to the American and Mexican people. The health of our youth and the safety of our neighborhoods are at stake. The powers of our democratic institutions and of our law enforcement organizations are challenged by international criminal organizations that operate seamlessly across our borders. Multi-ton quantities of cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and now methamphetamine, find their way to American streets far from our borders, much of it having come across our common border.
A Joint United States-Mexico Commitment to Confront Drug Trafficking:
On March 1, I certified to the Congress that the Government of Mexico cooperated fully to comply with the objectives of the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. President Zedillo and I have agreed to mount a sustained offensive against drug use, production, and trafficking organizations. We will arrest and bring drug traffickers to justice. We will make it more difficult for illegal profits to be laundered, and we will seize drug assets at every opportunity. We will work together to stop the illegal diversion of chemicals for drug manufacturing, and improve our capabilities to stop drugs at our border. To coordinate our efforts, Mexico and the United States formed a High Level Contact Group on Drug Control, which met for the first time March 27 in Mexico City. That group will continue indefinitely. It will meet next at the end of June in the United States, and thereafter in December, in Mexico.
A United States Plan of Action for Increased Cooperation With Mexico:
This directive prescribes specific measures that will be taken to accomplish these shared objectives; measures that will increase the effectiveness of the counter-drug cooperation between our two governments.
1. Quantifying the Drug Trafficking Threat to Our Two Nations
A prerequisite for more effective bilateral action is a shared and objective assessment of the level of drug production, trafficking activities, and the threat of corruption in both countries.
In order to establish a common view of the problem, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will coordinate other United States Government agencies in order to work effectively with officials designated by President Zedillo to produce a white paper that comprehensively describes the threat posed by cultivation, production, and trafficking of drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, and diversion of pharmaceuticals such as rohypnol, in both the United States and Mexico. Particular attention will be paid to drug trafficking activities across the Southwest border.
This report will be presented to the U.S.-Mexico High Level Contact Group on Drugs during its next meeting in June.
2. Developing a Joint Drug Control Strategy
We need a strategy to provide general guidance and specific direction to the efforts of the departments and agencies of our two countries.
I have directed the Director of National Drug Control Policy to expeditiously develop a binational drug control strategy in conjunction with the Government of Mexico. The strategy must increase the security and integrity of our shared border, while respecting the sovereign rights of each nation.
3. Reducing the Demand for Illegal Drugs in Our Two Countries
Prevention and treatment programs have contributed to a marked reduction in the number of drug users in the United States in the past decade. The number of casual drug users has dropped by almost half and the number of cocaine users by over a third. Mexico, likewise, has enjoyed positive results in its drug prevention programs. Both the United States and Mexico stand to benefit by sharing information on demand reduction programs that work.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy will organize multi-agency United States Government efforts to exchange expertise with appropriate organizations within the Mexican Government for information on successful reduction programs.
In the interests of enriching bilateral information exchange, U.S. agencies should take steps to ensure that the Mexican Government receives copies of relevant public reports and published studies relating to drug abuse education, trafficking patterns, money laundering, and so forth. The two governments will also work jointly to develop a protocol for exchange of more sensitive information.
4. Assessing U.S. Counter-drug Programs Along the Southwest Border
The increasing two-way trade between our nations must not be permitted to be used as a cover for drug trafficking.
I have directed the Departments of the Treasury, Justice, Defense, and other relevant agencies to conduct a comprehensive review of all Federal, State, and local efforts to prevent drug trafficking across the Southwest border.
This review will be coordinated by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. It will also consider bilateral measures that can be taken to decrease the flow of drugs across the Southwest border. The results of this review shall be submitted to the President's Council on Counter-Narcotics within 180 days.
5. Attacking Methamphetamine Production and Trafficking
Methamphetamine has become the drug of choice in California and is becoming more common across the rest of the United States. Clandestine labs in both countries produce tons of this dangerous drug. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has just developed a concept to address domestic consumption, production, and trafficking of methamphetamine.
The Department of Justice will continue to lead the U.S.-Mexico Plenary Group of Senior Law Enforcement Officials to produce a binational and interagency methamphetamine strategy. The DOJ will make regular reports to the High Level Contact Group through ONDCP of the progress and plans that result from the working sessions, and will report methamphetamine accomplishments at the next meeting of the High Level Contact Group.
6. Controlling Essential and Precursor Chemicals
Essential and precursor chemicals for the manufacture of all types of illegal drugs must be more carefully controlled.
The Department of Justice will continue to lead the U.S.-Mexico Plenary Group of Senior Law Enforcement Officials to produce a binational and interagency strategy and action plan for chemical controls not included in the methamphetamine action plan. The DOJ will make regular reports on plans and progress through ONDCP to the High Level Contact Group.
7. Combating Money Laundering and Other Financial Crimes
Drug trafficking organizations are profit oriented. Their illicit gains must be converted into legal instruments if the profit is to be realized. Money laundering is an essential component of the drug trafficking cycle.
Working through the U.S.-Mexico Plenary Group of Senior Law Enforcement Officials, the Departments of State, Justice, and the Treasury will develop recommendations for strengthening legislation to combat drug and other serious crime-related money laundering activities in Mexico through a combination of criminal penalties, large value and suspicious transaction reporting, as well as laws providing for the seizure and forfeiture of the proceeds and instrumentalities of crime and for international cooperation in the tracing, forfeiting, and equitable sharing of such assets. In addition, the Departments that comprise the Plenary Group will produce a plan for training anti-money-laundering law enforcement specialists, and a plan to expand the exchange of information to protect the integrity of financial institutions. They will report progress and plans through ONDCP to the High Level Contract Group.
A report on progress achieved in this area will be presented to the U.S.-Mexico High Level Contract Group on Drugs during its next meeting in June.
8. Improving Bilateral Law Enforcement Cooperation
Bilateral U.S.-Mexican law enforcement cooperation is at an historic high. However, more can be done.
The U.S.-Mexico Plenary Group of Senior Law Enforcement Officials will continue to be the principal coordinating mechanism for bilateral law enforcement cooperation. The Department of Justice will continue to lead that Group. The DOJ will make regular reports to the High Level Contact Group through ONDCP of the progress and plans that result from the working sessions, and will report law enforcement cooperation accomplishments at the next meeting of the High Level Contact Group. The basic principle to be followed is that coordination will be facilitated at the lowest possible echelons and produce measurable results.
Recommendations from the Plenary Group will also be presented to the U.S.-Mexico High Level Contract Group on Drugs during its next meeting in June.
9. Capturing Fugitives from Justice
The principle that no felon should be able to escape justice by using a border defines the joint U.S.-Mexico approach to fugitive issues.
The Department of Justice, operating through the U.S.-Mexico Plenary Group of Senior Law Enforcement Officials will improve the mechanism for return of fugitives from one country to the other. Those mechanisms will fully respect the absolute sovereignty of each nation's laws.
The DOJ will make regular reports to the High Level Contact Group through ONDCP of the progress and plans that result from the Plenary Group sessions, and will report law enforcement cooperation accomplishments at the next meeting of the High Level Contact Group.
10. Sharing Information and Helping Criminal Prosecution
We must assure that criminals do not escape punishment because of an inability to investigate or produce evidence for trial.
The U.S.-Mexico Plenary Group of Senior Level Law Enforcement Officials will produce recommendations for both countries to improve access to law enforcement and prosecutorial evidence and information. The Group will report its progress at the June meeting of the High Level Contact Group.
11. Denying Our Sovereign Territory to Drug Trafficking
International drug trafficking organizations routinely violate the sovereign air, land, and sea space of nations. We must find ways to shield our sovereign territories from these criminal violations.
The ONDCP will coordinate an interagency effort to develop unilateral and bilateral measures to prevent drug traffickers from violating our sovereignty. Such measures must fully respect the undisputed sovereign authority of each government within its national territory. Participating departments will include Justice, State, the Treasury, and Defense. Particular attention will be paid to large shipments of illegal drugs to Mexico and the United States.
An interim report will be presented to the U.S.-Mexico High Level Contact Group on Drugs during its next meeting in June.
12. Employing High Technology
Mexico eradicated more drug crops than any other country in the world in 1995. The United States, likewise, has pursued a nationwide eradication effort. Technical exchanges, in such areas as use of high technology and environmental protection, will benefit the eradication programs of both countries.
The ONDCP will coordinate an interdepartmental study on these issues. The study will be conducted in conjunction with the Government of Mexico. The Departments of Defense and State, and other relevant U.S. agencies will participate in this study.
Specific recommendations will be submitted to the U.S.-Mexico High Level Contact Group on Drugs within 180 days.
13. Summarizing Success
The Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy is directed to submit a review of the results of cooperative U.S.-Mexico efforts against drug production and trafficking to the President's Council on Counter-Narcotics, prior to December 31, 1996.
This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.
William J. Clinton
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:46 a.m., April 9, 1996]
William J. Clinton, Memorandum on Cooperation With Mexico on Drug Control Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/223113