Drug Enforcement Administration administrator Anne Milgram has called for further cooperation from China and Mexico in the fight against the US’s fentanyl crisis.
In an interview with Chuck Todd, the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, on Sunday, Milgram said that despite the DEA standing “ready to work with anyone who will work with us”, the US has “not had the cooperation that we want to have” from China, adding that the Mexican government also “needs to do more”.
With the US battling a worsening fentanyl crisis, since at least 2019 the majority of illegal fentanyl entering the country has been manufactured in Mexico using Chinese precursor chemicals.
In response to a question on China’s role alongside the US in preventing fentanyl from being produced, Milgram said: “We have had recent conversations with Chinese authorities, both in Beijing and in Washington, talking about improving law enforcement cooperation.
“For about the past year, we have not had the cooperation that we want to have. And, of course, we have offices in the People’s Republic of China and all over Asia. We have 334 offices around the world. So the recent conversations, I think, are very important, and now we have to see if we can turn this into law enforcement cooperation,” she added.
In addition, Milgram called on the Mexican government to step up its law enforcement effort alongside the US, saying:
“I think where we are right now is first, the United States is now taking an across-government approach. And so in the past six months, 12 months, we have sat with [the Department of the] Treasury, we have sat with [the Department of] State, we have sat with other federal law enforcement agencies. And the deputy attorney general has been to Mexico, as has the president’s homeland security adviser. And they’re all delivering the message of how important and critical this is.”
“We are seeing some increased cooperation with Mexican law enforcement and the military … I think it couldn’t be said enough: we cannot allow 110,000 Americans to die. And we have to do everything we can so we need to do more and Mexico needs to do more,” Milgram continued.
Milgram also said that regardless of whether the cartels are designated as foreign terrorist organizations, “that would not change our current authorities. So DEA’s role in defeating the cartel would be essentially the same.”
In April, the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, wrote the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, a letter, urging him to help control shipments of fentanyl. He also complained about calls in the US to designate Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations, saying: “Unjustly, they are blaming us for problems that in large measure have to do with their loss of values, their welfare crisis.”
Last month, the justice department filed criminal charges against four Chinese chemical manufacturing companies and eight individuals over allegations they illegally trafficked chemicals used to make the potent synthetic opioid.
“Just one of these China-based chemical companies shipped more than 200 kilograms of fentanyl-related precursor chemicals to the US for the purpose of making 50 kilograms of fentanyl, a quantity that could contain enough deadly doses of fentanyl to kill 25 million Americans,” the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, said.
Source: El Financiero