“An astonishing 90% of the heroin in America comes from south of the border where we will be building a wall, which will greatly help in this problem,” Trump said.
But in an appearance before the lower house of Congress Friday, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong responded by saying “there’s no way of confirming [his] remark, in any case, but we believe that the amount that comes from our country is a lot less.”
He also reiterated Mexico’s position on the contentious border wall issue.
“That’s why the president of the republic has said no to the wall. Of course, they are within their rights to build it inside their [own] territory, but we’re not going to pay a cent for it,” he said.
The biggest opium poppy producer is Afghanistan, Osorio told lawmakers, a statement supported by a 2017 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report that said Mexico is the world’s third largest producer.
Osorio said that the Interior Secretariat would work to determine where any other heroin that is smuggled into the U.S. via Mexico comes from and where it enters national territory. He added that Mexico had made it clear it was “united as a country to confront this challenge.”
Military operations to eradicate poppy plantations domestically are ongoing.
Last year, Osorio said that waging a war on drugs was a mistake for which Mexico had to pay a high cost but violent crime has risen regardless.
Disagreement on the quantity of heroin in the U.S. that is produced in Mexico is the latest in a list of grievances between the two neighbors that includes Trump’s border wall proposal and several points of difference in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
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