The United States is expanding its role in Mexico’s bloody fight against drug traffickers, sending new CIA operatives and retired military personnel to the country and considering plans to deploy private security contractors in hopes of turning around a multibillion-dollar effort that so far has shown few results, reports the New York Times. In recent weeks, small numbers of C.I.A. operatives and American civilian military employees have been posted at a Mexican military base, where, for the first time, security officials from both countries work side by side in collecting information about drug cartels and helping plan operations. Officials are also looking into embedding a team of American contractors inside a specially vetted Mexican counternarcotics police unit.
Officials on both sides of the border say the new efforts have been devised to get around Mexican laws that prohibit foreign military and police from operating on its soil, and to prevent advanced American surveillance technology from falling under the control of Mexican security agencies with long histories of corruption. The latest steps come three years after the United States began increasing its security assistance to Mexico with the $1.4 billion Merida Initiative and tens of millions of dollars from the Defense Department.