The Drug Enforcement Administration has offices in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Ciudad Juarez, Matamoros, Mazatlan, Merida, Monterrey, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, and Tijuana, but it doesn't have anything to say about a recently issued State Department report that says its partners in Mexico's security forces have "engaged in unlawful killings, forced disappearances, and instances of physical abuse and torture" while fighting the war on drugs.
Earlier today, I emailed the DEA's public affairs office with this request:
The State Department recently released a report on human rights abuses in Mexico. That report found that Mexican military and LEOs "engaged in unlawful killings, forced disappearances, and instances of physical abuse and torture" while fighting TCOs.
I was wondering if your office could provide me with a statement about the new report in light of Administrator Michele Leonhart's earlier claim, made to the Washington Post, in which she said, "It may seem contradictory, but the unfortunate level of violence is a sign of success in the fight against drugs….[cartels] are like caged animals, attacking one another," as it seems cartels are not the only people in Mexico committing violence.
Here is how the DEA responded:
We will let the State Department and Mexico speak to this rather than us
I wrote back:
If the DEA won't comment on the report, can you at least tell me if Administrator Leonhart stands by her claim that the "the unfortunate level of violence is a sign of success" in the war on drugs?
She has been consistent that the violence represents the pressure cartels feel from Mexican law enforcement/military and the U.S.
But [she] has no comment on violence perpetrated by DEA partners in Mexican military and law enforcement?
The agency's silence is a bit surprising, considering that in January 2010, a U.S. diplomat praised the DEA's training of the Mexican military: "Our ties with the military have never been closer in terms of not only equipment transfers and training, but also the kinds of intelligence exchanges that are essential to making inroads against organized crime."