Mexico Restricts DEA Immunity

Mexico’s Legislature passed a reform bill designed to reign in foreign law enforcement in it’s country. The new law requires DEA and FBI agents in Mexico to share all intelligence with their federal authorities. There is also a provision stripping those agents from immunity (Daily Beast).

The bill was passed with no debate and according to Dr Raul Benítez-Manaut of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “Many in the public sector are angry at the rapid and undemocratic way in which these reforms were approved,” he said.

The move is obviously in response to the arrest of General Salvador Cienfuegos in Los Angeles on October 15th. Cienfuegos was identified as “El Padrino” of the H-2 cartel while he was supposed to be protecting his country against such gangs. He was released to Mexican officials and all US charges were dropped on November 17th (blog). The US returned him on the threat of Mexico ending it’s cooperation with the US altogether.

This is a big step back for US assistance in fighting drug cartels. The DEA and FBI have worked extensively with Mexican law enforcement and military personnel. It seems the era of US and Mexican cooperation in the war on organized crime is opening a new chapter. Meanwhile crime has continued to rise, in particular femicide (CNN).

The Mexican government has said they will conduct their own investigation. It remains to be seen if El Padrino will be charged with wrongdoing.