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El Chapo trial highlights how Mexico graft impedes drug war

El Chapo’s high profile case, as well as several other lower profile cases, are highlighting the impact and extent of corruption in Mexican politics and drug smuggling, risks that pose severe difficulties to both Mexican and U.S. drug enforcement efforts in the area. Some senior-level officials in the judicial, law enforcement, military, executive, and legislative branches have pleaded guilty, and the threat of accusation looms large for all who have had dealings with other corrupt officials. Testimony from the trial has included descriptions of a $20 million dollar payout to a top Federal Police commander, while another described other multi-million dollar payoffs to a federal security chief and others. Witnesses also testified to Guzman receiving a police escort following his prison escape. The most sensational accusation is that of a $100 million bribe paid to former Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. These accusations, some of them supported by evidence, highlight the risks and difficulties of collaborating with Mexican officials, especially at the state and local level, on anti-narcotics efforts. Recently, a former state-level attorney general in Mexico pleaded guilty to using his position to help cartels smuggle contraband into the U.S. One DEA agent described how even within the country, Mexico’s military and federal police avoid working with authorities at the local and state levels due to their high levels of corruption and threat of compromising operations. “The are squarely in the pockets of the drug cartels, to the point that they engage in the smuggling and transportation of drugs and the killing of cartel enemies,” a DEA agent lamented. “If you can’t work with them, it makes it really hard to carry out some of the missions.” 

Source: El Chapo trial highlights how Mexico graft impedes drug war | PBS NewsHour Weekend

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