The U.S. government is turning to elite units of Mexican marines to go after drug cartel bosses in aggressive “capture or kill” missions, providing intelligence and training, the Washington Post reports. The effort includes more direct information-sharing and training than previously known, and reflects a sense of urgency on the part of the U.S. government to find a professional partner to combat drug violence in Mexico that may be posing a threat to American security.
The U.S. government has been wary of corruption among Mexican police and frustrated by the slow response of the Mexican army. The decision to rely on the marines enables that force to carry out the kind of rapid-strike operations undertaken by U.S. forces against Taliban leaders in Afghanistan. Based in the U.S. Embassy and in consulates in conflict zones along the border, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents deliver “intelligence packages” about the location of drug bosses to Mexican marines, who charge into action, often within hours, sometimes capturing, sometimes killing their quarry in spectacular urban firefights.