Details of the plan remain limited, but a number of skeptics have emerged. Some have questioned how different the new force will be from simply using the military itself--they could just be "soldiers in grey uniforms who lack real police training," a March report (.pdf) from the International Crisis Group said.
The Obama administration has no objection in principle to a Mexican government policy change to centralize contact with the United States over counternarcotics efforts, but how to implement that change remains unresolved, a State Department official told a May 23 House panel.
The poll results come as new Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has shifted the emphasis of federal state anti-crime efforts to reducing street violence, an approach different than that of predecessor Felipe Calderón, who favored military-led confrontation with transnational criminal organizations. During Calderón's tenure, drug-cartel violence claimed more than an estimated 70,000 lives, although murders may have diminished somewhat in 2012 and this year.
Opium production and trade in Afghanistan is likely to grow after the United States and allied troops draw down the Afghanistan War, a report from the EastWest Institute says. But there is an opportunity for the United States and Russia to collaborate in support of counternarcotics efforts, which they share an interest in, the report says.
The White House's annual drug control strategy emphasizes efforts along the border to disrupt the drug trade but also the ability of traffickers to adapt to law enforcement measures. Cartels have found their way around law enforcement obstacles through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft and international mail, says the Office of National Drug Control Policy strategy (.pdf), released April 24.
Meth lab incidents have declined in states that banned over-the-counter pseudoephedrine, and a new Government Accountability Office report says the available information shows no major drawbacks for consumers and healthcare providers. Pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in cold and allergy medications, is a precursor chemical for methamphetamine production.
The former head of the Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center says the war on drugs has been a massive failure and argues for a focus on treatment in a Dec. 27 paper. The author favors a solution that includes treatment for addiction on demand and mandated treatment as a condition of probation or pretrial release for drug offenders.
Controls on methamphetamine precursor chemicals haven't significantly reduced overall quantities of the drug seized in the United States, but they have shifted control of the meth supply to Mexican transnational criminal organizations . Mexican transnational criminal organizations filled early last decade a manufacturing void created by laws that made precursor chemical pseudoephedrine harder to obtain.
Whether dogs trained to sniff for narcotics constitute a search protected under the Fourth Amendment was the subject of oral argument Oct. 31 before the Supreme Court in one of two dog-sniffer cases heard that day."A drug detection dog reveals only the presence of contraband, and that no one has a legitimate expectation of privacy in that," said Gregory Garre, who represented the state of Florida.
For at least the fifth year in a row, the White House says Bolivia, Burma and Venezuela have demonstrably failed during the previous year in counternarcotics efforts. As in previous years, the determinations state that national interests require continuance of aid programs to Bolivia and Venezuela. The fiscal 2013 determination is the first to say so for Burma.