U.S. Said To End Mexico Drug Probe!

U.S. Said To End Mexico Drug Probe!
Posted by FoM on March 16, 1999 at 12:23:16 PT

NEW YORK An undercover probe into Mexican drug trafficking was shut down by the Clinton Administration even as U.S. Customs agents were looking at Mexico's defense minister as a suspect, The New York Times reported today. 
The agents were mystified by the decision to end the investigation on schedule rather than extend it to explore information involving the top-level official, particularly in view of intelligence reports ``pointing to corruption at the highest levels of the Mexican military,'' the Times said. According to The Times, the agents had learned from drug-trade bankers in early 1998 that certain ``clients'' wanted to launder $1.15 billion in illegal funds, and ``the most important'' of them was Mexico's defense minister, Gen. Enrique Cervantes. Although the information was passed to Washington, ``no further effort was ever made'' to investigate Cervantes' alleged role, and prosecutors did not even raise the subject with traffickers who had pleaded guilty and were cooperating with the government in the case, the Times said. The decision was sharply questioned by William F. Gately, identified by The Times as a former senior Customs agent, now retired, who ran the undercover operation. ``Why are we sitting on this type of information? It's either because we're lazy, we're stupid or the political will doesn't exist to engage in the kind of investigation where our law enforcement efforts might damage our foreign policy,'' Gately said. President Clinton certified last month that Mexico is a fully cooperating partner in the drug war despite a decline in narcotics seizures. The decision drew criticism from lawmakers who contend the administration is not doing enough to stop drug trafficking. Senior administration officials maintained the decision to end the inquiry was based on security, not concern about foreign policy, the Times said. And they said the undercover agents had not been able to verify the claims implicating Cervantes, the newspaper said. Customs Commissioner Raymond Kelley told the Times that the report ``obviously... was a significant allegation,'' but said, ``There was skepticism about it. Was it puffing? It was just not seen as being -- I won't use the word credible -- but it wasn't verified.''
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: