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Homeland Security

Obama Administration Announces National Strategy to Reduce Drug Trafficking and Flow of Bulk Cash and Weapons Across Southwest Border

Release Date: 
June 5, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: Christine Kourtides (ONDCP) 202-340-3054
Sara Kuban (DHS) 202-282-8010
Laura Sweeney (DOJ) 202-514-2007

Today, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske released President Obama’s strategy to stem the flow of illegal drugs and their illicit proceeds across the Southwest border and reduce associated crime and violence in the region.

The National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy directs Federal agencies to increase coordination and information sharing with State and local law enforcement agencies, intensifies national efforts to interdict the southbound flow of weapons and bulk currency, and calls for continued close collaboration with the Government of Mexico in their efforts against the drug cartels. The strategy is an important component of the Administration’s national drug control policy and complements the Administration’s comprehensive efforts to respond to threats along the border.

“Drug trafficking cartels spread violence and lawlessness throughout our border region and reach into all of our communities, large and small,” said Attorney General Holder.  “By focusing on increased cooperation between the U.S. and Mexican governments as well as enhanced communication within U.S. law enforcement agencies, the National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy we introduce today provides an effective way forward that will crack down on cartels and make our country safer.”

“The President’s counternarcotics strategy will play a critical role in our efforts to stop cross-border drug trafficking and violence,” said Secretary Napolitano. “The plan calls for tougher inspections, more enforcement personnel and close coordination with our partners in Mexico as we work across Federal, State and local governments to achieve safety and security in our communities. Together, we will continue to reduce the flow of illegal drugs across the Southwest border and ensure that those who ignore our laws are prosecuted.”

“Under President Obama’s leadership we have designed a new plan to pull together the capabilities not only of Federal agencies, but also state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials,” said Director Kerlikowske.  “This new plan, combined with the dedicated efforts of the Government of Mexico, creates a unique opportunity to make real headway on the drug threat.  At the same time, we are renewing our commitment to reduce the demand for drugs in the United States, which will support this effort.  The National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy will improve the safety of communities on the border and throughout our Nation.”

National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy Objectives

  • Enhance intelligence capabilities associated with the Southwest border.
  • Interdict drugs, drug proceeds, and associated instruments of violence at the ports of entry, between the ports of entry, and in the air and maritime domains along the Southwest border.
  • Ensure the prosecution of all significant drug trafficking, money laundering, bulk currency, and weapons smuggling/trafficking cases.
  • Disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations.
  • Enhance counterdrug technologies for drug detection and interdiction along the Southwest border.
  • Enhance U.S.-Mexico cooperation regarding joint counterdrug efforts.

The Director of National Drug Control Policy will oversee the implementation of the strategy, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement, and the Department of Justice, Office of the Deputy Attorney General. The Director will also ensure that the strategy is coordinated with other border related efforts, including the Merida Initiative, led by the State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Southwest border operations plan.

The National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy can be found at www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov.

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