Mexico, US Consider ‘Holistic’ Approach to Curbing Drug Cartels

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Police take a suspected drug trafficker off a helicopter in Hermosillo in the state of Sonora. Photo courtesy Knight Foundation via Flickr

High-ranking U.S. and Mexican officials recently met for the first time in years to discuss a fresh, “holistic” approach to dealing with the public security issues that affect both countries, reports the Courthouse News Service.

The proposed “United States-Mexico Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities” is considered a fresh start to tackle the problems of drug addiction in the United States and drug violence in Mexico that have only grown worse under the Merida initiative which aimed to combat drug trafficking and violence in Mexico under a philosophy of “shared responsibility” for the problems.

The initiative’s “kingpin strategy” of taking out cartel leaders only served to fracture criminal organizations, resulting in the Hydra effect of lower-level drug capos vying for the power vacuums at the top.

The Bicentennial Framework’s holistic approach pledges to tackle the roots of these systemic problems and how they have evolved in recent years and aims to study and deal with the root causes of crime and drug addiction both in the United States and Mexico. Both also expressed the intention to pursue a memorandum of understanding that will aim to prevent drug consumption and provide evidence-based treatment, among other preemptive measures.

Meanwhile, The Trace reports that Seven out of 10 of the guns traced were manufactured or sold in the U.S., including high-caliber weapons used for antiaircraft and antitank purposes and manufactured by American companies.

The amount of violence caused by these weapons has cost the Mexican economy $221 billion, resulted in nearly 150,000 deaths, and displaced 357,000 people since 2006. These figures add weight to a lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court by Mexican authorities accusing several major American gunmakers — including Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Ruger — of negligent business practices, alleging that their reckless sales and lax regulation of distribution channels have contributed to a surge of firearms into cartel hands.

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