The U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, David Johnson, announced yesterday the release of $214 million of the $1.4 billion Mérida Initiative package. The sum has been spent or committed to training Mexican federal investigators and providing technology that would help control the narcotics and weapons flowing across the U.S.-Mexico border.
The first $50 million has been spent on helicopters that will be delivered to the Mexican military this fall. Johnson added that the U.S. is also concentrating efforts to help Mexico improve its internal law enforcement systems, through lie detector tests and background checks, in an effort to root out corruption.
The Mérida Initiative is a multi-year program that provides equipment, training, and technical assistance to Mexico’s government to combat organized crime, specifically the drug cartels responsible for trafficking $40 billion worth of illegal drugs annually to the U.S. Beyond support for Mexico, the U.S. has also committed to supplying funding and support to Central America, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic under the Mérida Initiative.