Cablegate: Deputy Secretary Negroponte has Cordial Meetings

DE RUEHME #6043/01 3392113
R 052113Z DEC 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 006043




E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/05/2017
MEXICO 00006043 001.2 OF 003

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Charles V. Barclay.
Reason: 1.4 (b),(d)

1. Summary: On October 30, Deputy Secretary Negroponte,
Assistant Secretary of State Tom Shannon and party met heads
of Mexico,s Secretariats of Gobernacion (Interior) and
Public Security, as well as with Mexico,s Attorney General.
All three GOM officials outlined steps the Calderon
administration is taking to improve law enforcement efforts
in Mexico and more effectively confront Mexico,s narcotics
cartels. They expressed appreciation of the USG,s
commitment to strengthen law enforcement cooperation through
the Merida Initiative. Ambassador Negroponte told his law
enforcement interlocutors that president Bush was personally
committed to boosting our joint efforts against narcotics
trafficking and that his administration would work to secure
congressional support for the initiative in coming weeks.
End Summary.

Interior Secretary, Staff Discuss New Intel Center

2. (C) Ambassador Negroponte,s first meeting was with
Secretary of Government Ramirez Acuna, CISEN Director
Guillermo Valdes Castellanos, and Deputy Secretary of
Population, Migration, and Religious Issues Florencio Salazar
Adame. Ramierz Acuna and his officials expressed their
desire to advance law enforcement cooperation with the U.S.
and stressed the importance of the Merida Initiative.
CISEN,s Valdes informed the U.S. visitors of the GOM,s
plans to construct a multi-agency intelligence center )
along the lines of the USG,s EPIC (El Paso Intelligence
Center). Ramierz Acuna explained that the project falls
under the umbrella of &Platform Mexico8 which will
establish real-time interconnectivity between all levels of
police and prosecutors and generate a single, unified
national crime database. The intelligence center would be
located at SSP headquarters, but CISEN will take the lead in
information-gathering and analysis.

3. (C) Valdes emphasized that counter-terrorism was a very
important aspect of the Merida Initiative. In this regard,
he noted that recent years there had had been between 20-30
cases of no-flight alerts on travelers of interest coming
into Mexico. Valdes explained that subjects in these cases
are usually detained, interrogated, and deported. Ramirez
Acuna stressed, however, that there have only been two cases
during the Calderon Administration, where the subjects were
suspected terrorists. Valdes also noted a pattern of Arab
nationals entering Mexico on Venezuelan passports and of
Iranians entering with Nicaraguan passports. For these
reasons, the GOM is working to build up security on the
southern border and establish ties with the Terrorist
Screening Center in Washington.

Secretary for Public Security Outlines Proposed Police Reforms

4. (SBU) In an follow-on meeting with Genaro Garcia Luna
(Secretary for Public Security), Deputy Secretary Negroponte
asked for details on what the GOM was doing in police reform
and other aspects of law enforcements, to help him &fill in
the blanks8 in preparation for future questioning regarding
the Merida Initiative. Garcia Luna provided an extensive
summary of steps already being undertaken by his secretariat
to improve law enforcement in Mexico and outlined the
challenges facing police in Mexico. Ambassador Negroponte
emphasized the need for good coordination among police
elements, and noted our commitment to helping Mexico meet
its current security challenges.

5. (SBU) Garcia Luna began by outlining SSP,s drive to
improve federal policing, starting with the addition of
10,000 new federal police it intends to add to the current
17,000; SSP wants to build the force to an eventual 35,000
police. It is also upgrading federal prisons, he said, and
plans to build a &super maximum security8 prison that will
allow it to isolate cartel members from their support
networks. Finally, SSP is engaging civil society to
establish performance benchmarks and create a &social
basis8 for law enforcement. State consultative councils,
composed of business, NGOs and civic leaders will help make
SSP locally accountable in each state.

6. (SBU) The Public Security Secretary said that ambitious
reform proposals awaiting Congressional action will provide
the means for professionalizing all 350,000 federal, state
and local police forces. The reforms will help his
secretariat establish standard methods, processes and systems
in every jurisdiction.

7. (SBU) As an interim measure, he said, SSP was
polygraphing federal forces under its control. The
secretariat is building the means to test 100,000 police per
year and will eventually test all police in Mexico. If
approved, this massive restructuring will broaden: the
authority of the federal police to investigate aggressively,
to proactively prevent crime, harmonize police procedures and
standards and, impose binding ethical standards on police

8. (SBU) The Deputy Secretary noted the importance of
harmonizing policing across Mexico and asked about efforts to
promote better coordination among forces. Calderon,s push
for reform, said Garcia Luna, demonstrated his commitment to
break the law enforcement mold in Mexico whereby local, state
and federal police elements have traditionally worked in
isolation of each other, maintaining distant, often
antagonistic relations at best. The reforms would force
police to work nationally in a coordinated manner, he said.

9. (SBU) Garcia Luna said that reforms that do not require
changes in law are already being implemented, including the
establishment of &Plataforma Mexico,8 the billion-dollar
scheme for establishing interconnections between all police
and prosecutors. The system would replace existing obsolete
UHF/VUF radio links and allow SSP to analyze criminal trends
in real time. Plataforma Mexico already reaches every
Mexican state, said Garcia Luna, and by January would begin
to extend down to the municipalities, eventually reaching

10. (SBU) To wrap up the meeting, the Deputy Secretary
asked Garcia Luna for his take on the key security challenges
facing Mexico. In response, Garcia Luna described an illegal
narcotics trade in great flux, with long-term regional
monopolies breaking down, at a time when technologies and
tactics were becoming more lethal and brutal. The Calderon
administration,s press against the cartels earlier this year
engendered further violence, he said. SSP,s key challenges
are to &re-populate8 the entire police force across the
country (breaking the grip cartels hold on local police in
particular), restore public respect for law enforcement in
Mexico and train and equip police forces to challenge the
technological edge cartels have long maintained here.
Garcia Luna noted that the support provided through the
Merida Initiative would help provide the police the
technological advantage now enjoyed by the well-funded
criminal organizations they face.

Attorney General Lauds Improved Law Enforcement Relationship
and Outlines Its Results

11. (SBU) The Deputy Secretary,s final law enforcement
meeting on October 30 was with Mexico,s Attorney General
Eduardo Medina Mora. Media Mora was accompanied by Noe
Ramirez, Deputy Attorney General for Organized Crime, Oscar
Rocha, Special Advisor, Juan Sanchez Zarza, chief of analysis
at the National Organized Crime Information and Analysis
Center (CENAPI) and Enrique Rojo, chief advisor to the
Foreign Relations Secretariat,s North America Affairs head
Carlos Rico.

12. (SBU) Medina Mora began by noting that he had just
returned from the Mexican Senate, where he had updated
Senators on the Zhenli case (the Chinese-Mexican now in U.S.
custody for trafficking in methamphetamine precursor
chemicals). Not surprisingly, he said, the senators
expressed great interest in the Merida Initiative. PRI
legislators, in particular, pressed him to explain why the
GOM had not consulted them before announcing the initiative.
As expected, PRD interlocutors were also critical. The
initiative offers them a useful political axe to grind.

13. (SBU) The attorney general then expressed his gratitude
to A/S Shannon and Ambassador Garza for their help in putting
the Merida Initiative together and offered his hope that the
U.S. Congress would approve the initiative soon. Ambassador
Negroponte replied that the U.S. will make a serious effort
in congress to win support for he proposal. He expected no
serious resistance, but noted that Congress would not likely
act until February or March of next year.

14. (SBU) Medina Mora opined that, in his seven years of
government service, the current USG-GOM law enforcement
relationship was now at its best. It was producing results
he said: DEA statistics showed that cocaine prices are up as
well and purity is down ) testimony to better enforcement on
both sides of the border. An outstanding recent success was
scored in the Zhenli arrest, and the confiscation of more
than 207 million USD in cash. The PGR had strong evidence
against Zhenli and was working with DOJ, providing witnesses
and evidence. The GOM was preparing a formal request for his
extradition. He said that the statue of limitations would
endure for decades on the charges Zhenli faces in Mexico.

15. (SBU) The Attorney General also outlined recent GOM/PGR
initiatives and successes, such as the new ban on imports of
methamphetamine precursor chemicals, and a recent
record-setting cocaine seizure of 11.5 metric tons in one
container. (Embassy note: this amount was to be surpassed
latter the same day by the seizure of 23.5 metric tons, a
world record.) He noted PGR has also had scored success in
mapping out how drugs enter Mexico (determining that most
comes via containers but that a new wave has begun entering
via private airplanes filing otherwise legal flight plans).
Proper review of both traditional and non-traditional
conveyances is critical to staunching the flow of drugs, he
said. Mexico plans on dedicating much more attention to
screening containers -- acquiring the technology to do this
is an important component in the Merida Initiative.

16. (SBU) Medina Mora ended the discussion by raising a few
points of concern. He noted that trafficking in marijuana
was a critical secondary cash source for cartels and
expressed concern with lax U.S. enforcement and prosecution
of cross-border marijuana trafficking cases. He urged the
U.S. be more aggressive with regard to pursuing marijuana
traffickers and noted the difficulty of prosecuting Mexican
nationals deported for trafficking offenses since current
U.S. practice is to hold seized contraband in the U.S.

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