The proposal was quietly presented this week by López Obrador
MEXICO CITY (Times Media Mexico) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has just delivered another “hot potato” to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden with a proposal that would restrict U.S. agents in Mexico and eliminate their diplomatic immunity.
The proposal quietly introduced this week by Lopez Obrador will require DEA operators to turn over to the Mexican government all information they gather and require any Mexican official contacted by the agents to submit a full report to the Foreign Ministry.
According to the president’s proposal to the Mexican Senate, the proposal is that the foreign agents would not have any immunity. In most nations, the country’s principal DEA agent often has full diplomatic immunity, and other assets have some form of technical or limited immunity.
Mike Vigil, the former head of DEA’s international operations, said, “That’s not going to happen,” about handing over all the information. “Unfortunately, there is endemic corruption within the Mexican government. It’s going to leak, it’s going to compromise the agents, it’s going to compromise the informants,” said Vigil.
The history of leaks is well documented. In 2017, the commander of a Mexican police intelligence unit that received information from the DEA was accused of passing data from the U.S. agency to the Beltran Leyva cartel in exchange for millions of dollars.
The plan “is going to hinder bilateral operations, it is going to hinder the bilateral exchange of information. This is going to be much more detrimental to Mexico than to the United States,” according to Vigil.
“Ninety percent of the information exchange goes from the DEA to Mexico, rather than from Mexico to the United States. The vast majority of anti-drug successes in Mexico come from DEA information,” he said.
The proposal appears to reflect Mexico’s anger over the arrest of former Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos in Los Angeles in October.
Under pressure from Mexico’s implicit threats to restrict or expel U.S. agents, prosecutors in the U.S. withdrew the case so that Cienfuegos could be returned to Mexico and investigated under Mexican law. However, he has so far not been charged.
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