US Military Unit Tied To New Anti-narcotics Program In Juárez

Northern Command, With Help From State Department's Plan Mexico, Directs Attention Towards Mexico's Most Violent City

Last week a Narco News investigation revealed that a military unit created in 2002 for homeland defense missions called US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) had become more involved in assisting the Mexican military to wage the drug war. Now more information has come to light connecting the unit to a pilot program in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, which has become one of the deadliest cities in Mexico due to drug war related violence.

On Friday the Mexican daily Milenio published a story titled “US 'Intelligence Consultants' Arrive To Ciudad Juárez,” which earned a lot of media attention and was quickly spread around by wire services  throughout the country. The article cites a document from the State Department that details a “joint pilot program in support of Mexico’s efforts to confront and reverse the violence that has plagued Ciudad Juárez,” with the hook that a least one “technical adviser” from the US government would be working on Mexican soil in the Juárez full time to assist in sharing intelligence between the two countries. This program came out of meetings held between both governments in January and February 2010, and it is a part of the State Department's Plan Mexico (also known as the Mérida Initiative), a 2008 security pact  in which the United States provides training and equipment to Mexican law enforcement and the armed forces to wage the drug war.

What went unreported was NORTHCOM's involvement. According to the document cited by Milenio, which can be found online in English, a military group called the Joint Task Force North, a subordinate  command of NORTHCOM located close to the US-Mexico border at Fort Bliss in Texas, helped give birth to the Juárez program. Through “a planning and coordinating mission established to support law enforcement agencies counter the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S along the Southwest border” the task force “hosted the Ciudad Juárez / El Paso Planning Initiative, a working group attended by members from U.S. local, state, and federal governments and Mexican federal and state government representatives, to establish the ways, ends, and means in developing a common assessment, approach, and execution structure to enhance public security.”

The military is also using Plan Mexico to fund encrypted communication methods for police forces in Juárez, and “cross border communications,” where radio links will be set up between law enforcement officials on both sides of the border, according to the document. The recent news of the military unit's involvement in this new Juárez program continues to add evidence to NORTHCOM's growing involvement in Mexico's drug war.



With Prop 19 vote in CA on Nov 2, this build up of military forces looks like no matter what, the war must go on.  I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but this seems heavy and unnecessary.  Can't these folks find something better to do?

I'm mexican and I live and

I'm mexican and I live and go to school in all this "drug related" matter. I personally think the US goverment is behind this whole thing. I personally believe that if this was not so, then we would be able to legalize it (or at least, "despenalizar" the matter. Don't know how to say that in english, sorry) and that would endeed, end this war - because, im sorry to say so, that's what it is- and the violence and death along with it.

We've had more dead people in the last ten months than you guys have in Irack, and THAT'S saying something.

I'm sorry to say so, but this feels like an invasion. Mexican people, the poorest people, the people that work the dirth where they plant what you guys eat and consume, could easily live from being well-paid. They could sell drugs for you guys, for example. Economics true law, btw: if there's an offer and a demand you've got yourself a market. US consumes 80% of the drugs planted in Mexico and all the drug that passes thru here too. How come my people is planting drugs? isn't that bad? well, in the first place, they don't have big jobs and cool oportunities, normal, first class oportunities. My people lives with 5 dlls a day in cancun. 20 pesos (1 and a half dolars) a day in mexico city.

You guys do the math.

One or the other

IF they made it legal in Mex would make no difference, the police, Zetas, politicians sell as much as they want with police protection nationwide. They now kill every independent drug dealer nationwide who is not giving them a cut and selling drugs for the police (zetas). Remember the same people moving the drugs in Mexico are doing child pornography, prostitution, kidnapping, extortion, murder, video and software piracy, bank fraud from withinn the banks, money laundering, credit card theft, meth labs, organ harvesting and illegal human experimental research.

Also 70 to 80 % of the kidnappings are being done by or with knowledge of police authorities. The primary kidnap subjects are children. I mean if the entire governors cabinet can get away without being arrested at the Narco Fiesta in Cuernavaca where Barbie escaped to a neighbors home a block away, anything is possible. The cabinet had a free ride and the police kept it quiet. The Beltrans lived next door to the governor and did business. When it became public the army and police guarded the home and continued business as usual. No one here is blind you could see them everyday in their caravans which they use less and less which were guarded by police and motorcycles even to this day. However the vehicles are lower profile vans disguised as business vehicles, still guarded by police and armed bodyguards. As far as that singer was involved he was singing to more than just a few people in a small room. 

@ Tonatiuh

Thank you for telling US:  I live here and this is what I think is going on.  

You said you "live and go to school in the middle of all this 'drug related ' matter".  Reminding US of how many have died in the Drug War in Mexico and how involved both US and Mexican governments are via comments and reporting such as this, is why I read and support The Fund for Authentic Journalism.

You have my respect and love (good thoughts/prayers) as you go through your days.  I think here in the US, some of the "first class opportunities" are gone for certain people as well.  Some employers are not taking applications from unemployed people.  Only the employed need apply.  Your $$ each day is not a wage, it is a 'sentence'.  I am learning a lot about the future (and present) of US by what you are living each day.

There is a lot of math and truth telling to do. 

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About Erin Rosa


Erin Rosa is a writer from Denver, Colorado based in the Western Hemisphere.