News24

US helps Mexico in drug war

2011-08-07 09:07

Washington - The United States is sending new CIA operatives and retired military personnel to Mexico and may deploy private security contractors to fight drug cartels, The New York Times said.

Small numbers of CIA operatives and civilian US military employees have been posted at a Mexican military base, it said late on Saturday.

Security officials from both countries work there side by side in collecting information about drug cartels and helping plan operations, the report said.

Officials are also looking into embedding a team of American contractors inside a specially vetted Mexican counternarcotics police unit, it said.

The new efforts have been devised to get around Mexican laws prohibiting foreign military and police from operating on its soil.

They also aim to prevent advanced US surveillance technology from falling under the control of Mexican security agencies with long histories of corruption, the paper noted.

More than 41 000 people have died in violence blamed on Mexico's drug cartels since the end of 2006, when President Felipe Calderon deployed about 50 000 troops to tackle organised crime.