tv Senate Judiciary Hearing on Drug Cartels Border Security - Panel 2 CSPAN December 17, 2018 9:52am-10:32am EST
investigative efforts and the ability to engage in asset forfeiture would give us the bigge bigge biggest bang for our buck. >> senator durbin. >> thank you for being here and providing answers for further thought. there's another vote on and we'll excuse the first panel and go vote and take up the second panel. thank you, we'll be in adjournment. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] my apologies for the back and forth, welcome to the united states senate, where the best laid plans sometimes go awry because of the voting schedule. but it's my pleasure to introduce the witnesses for the second panel. the first is the honorable earl a wayne, a public policy fellow and co-chair of the mexico institutes board at woodrow wilson center for scholars. prior to this a career with the ambassador, the senior most
diplomatic rank you can achieve. ambassador wayne served to mexico september 11th-- september, 2011 to july of 2015. deputy u.s. ambassador to afghanistan from 2009 to 2011 and ambassador to argentina from 2006 to 2009. ambassador wayne has been recognized for his leadership in the foreign service including receiving an award in 2015. the order of the aztec eagle, which is the highest order, award granted to foreigners from mexico's president and foreign secretary. our second witness is the honorable roger noriega, currently a visiting fellow at american enterprise institute. prior to that position, assistant secretary of state for the western hemisphere affairs and u.s. ambassador to the organization of american states. from 20011-2003. while at the oas he worked to
advance human rights, foster economic integration and promote peace and security throughout the western hemisphere, ambassador noriega has been involved in american policies since 1980's. our third witness is selena ruhol. give it my best. current an adjunct professor at elliott school of international affairs at george washington university. up to 2006 state department director of counterterrorism programs as u.s. secretary of state's office counterterrorism in washington d.c. the professor is a member of the council on foreign relations and institute institute for strategic studies and women in international security. the fourth witness is chief chris magnus, the chief of police for the tew san police
department a position held since january of 2016. chief magnus served in many law enforcement positions, including serving in lansing, michigan, fargo, north dakota and in california. he's a chief witness for the u.s. department of justice working with the civil rights division and the cops office on policing in various cities around the country. welcome, chief. our final witness is dr. andrew saly. a position he began in 2017 after being at woodrow wilson for scholars. and he's a respected scholar in mexico, and u.s.-mexico, and a quick comment in the media. and he's written books on the u.s.-mexican relationship and latin american politics.
thank you for agreeing to be with us here today. >> ambassador wayne, let me start with you, please. any opening statement you'd care to make? >> red button, please. >> the red button, talk. thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you and ranking member senator durbin for your initial comments. you've made a lot of the most essential observations that i was going to make, so i'll try not to repeat them. but you pointed out how both the u.s. and mexico societies suffer from this cou cross-bord illegal trade going on, the importance of making this a high priority. we've made a lot of progress the last ten years and there's much more today. >> and the mexico's new president, obrador or ablo
mandates, and he wants to transform his country. he's made clear a number of times that he wants to find ways to cooperate with the united states. so both governments should build on what's been working so far while they explore new ways to make that cooperation better. we should definitely avoid what happened six years ago when there was about a year of freeze in the cooperation between the two governments during the last presidential transition. teams from both sides should get together, review very thoroughly what's going on right now, what makes sense to continue and also try to identify new priorities, especially that mesh with the public security strategy that was put forward in recent weeks. one thing that we should try hard to do is keep going after that business model of these drug groups. in 2017, the two governments agreed to do that, but we
didn't get to go forward with that program very effectively. we should try and do so now. we have to keep working on better inner agency coordination, between the two sides and within each government at the same time. we should also, i think, i very much agree with the comments of taking additional steps to manage the risks that are out there, including using this new technology that is available. and by using the merited program, we can make it available on both sides of the border. so, we're really looking at all the entry and exit points and we can share that data and analyze it with new i.t. software to be even more effective in tracking what's going across our borders. we should also look seriously at how we can support elements of this new public security policy. there are a number of parts of this eight-pillar approach, that was presented that i think
we can effectively support and work with them developing. all of this effort needs additional funding, including additional merited funding and i think that would be very well-used and i agree fully with the idea of taking amlo up on his offer to develop a regional approach to this program that deals with causes, intels effects and takes that long-term and a multi-layered approach to deal with the problems of migration and crime. congress has a vital role to play in this process and making sure this reinvigorated cooperation gets off to a good start and that we have sufficiently funded plans to take it forward. over the past ten years, bilateral cooperation has been under the umbrella of the merit initiative between mexico and the united states. that initiative brought order, it brought more coordination, and more funds to u.s.
assistance. it helped build closer cooperation between law enforcement, justice, diplomatic, security border and intelligence officials on both sides and it greatly improved capacity through the assistance programs that went forward. but more progress is needed, but i think what's important to understand is that all the people working on this came to accept that dealing with these problems are a shared responsibility. that was not the case ten years ago. there was a lot of finger pointing. right now there's a great concensus that the way to really solve these problems is working together. we should make sure to maintain that approach. as you and others noted, senator, the ipo crisis has pressed us to realize how important this is. as i mentioned in 2017, we got an agreement with the mexicans on a new set of intense efforts
to look at that whole value chain from production through financing at the very end, and tried to cut it off at all angles. sadly, we were not able to take that forward and at least part of it was it was a popular backlash in mexico against the criticisms of mexico and a number of harsh actions on the border. i hope we can now take this opportunity to move forward and build that cooperation. within mexico since 2014, as was mentioned, criminal groups have spread more widely, across mexico and they've diversified the crimes they are committing in mexico. very sadly, homicides reached a new record, violent homicides in 2017 and it looks like a record set when the data is in for this year. not surprising, a prime driver in electing lopez obrador was
insecurity and not surprisingly one of the first plans he's presented is the eight-pillar approach. .. talk a bit about those eight hours but it won't go to all know. i will mention that perhaps one of the most controversial part of it is announcing the restructuring in public securities trader new public security ministry which mexico did have before. but then he has created a national guard which will be a military service for a militarized service under the secretary of defense. there are a lot of questions about that that still need to be explored and debated in mexico. at the same time popular
expectations are very high. they welcome a fresh approach. so we need to work with the mexican government and see how we can mesh these objectives together. merit as you mention has been working for the past ten years under its four main pillars. these pillars have been very flexible. they've allowed us to cover a wide range of different programs and to involve priorities to reflect changes in the governments on both sides of the border for working this through. in my written testimony i go through some 19 areas where i think there are good programs underway that would sink very well with the new priorities put forward by lópez obrador. >> let me ask him we're asking people to keep to the five minutes opening and where bastard you what you had to say. let me follow up with some questions and proceed to ambassador noriega. >> okay.
>> thank you, mr. chairman, senator burr for the opportunity to discuss what's at stake in the u.s.-mexico relationship. mexican organized crime has grown as a threat in the last 20 years. worse yet is part of a dangerous sophisticated global crime network right on our doorstep. mexico's new president won a clear mandate to fight corruption. however, his thoughts of subduing narco violence within amnesty and antipoverty programs are not reassuring. this matters because 90% of the cocaine and heroin entering the united states transits mexico. sustaining a public health and criminal justice crisis that costs us $200 billion. the mexican people complain justifiably about u.s. demand for drugs which sustains criminals who so terror, death and instability we must face this threat as partners because
neither government can coexist with the lawless groups that attack our people with impunity. mr. chairman, i have worked against this threat for about two decades, mostly on the u.s. congress, congressional staff. i believe this crisis is worse than ever. in the supply and let the holy of drugs, the depth, breadth and wealth of the networks that deliver them, and the inability or unwillingness in certain cases of governments to attack them effectively. a few examples. since 2013 2013 the productionf heroin in mexico has tripled. the supply of fentanyl which is 35 and 50 times more potent than heroin has increased dramatically. colombian coke production, reaching record highs in filling the coffers of mexican traffickers. deadly gangs of central america which are vertically integrating into every american city are expanding their drug smuggling
and distribution operations right to our border. making matters worse come mexican organized crime is part of a global criminal network with $2 trillion in annual income. that's the equivalent of mexico's gdp. carrying that asymmetric threat right to our doorstep. every day this criminal network does whatever it takes to optimize the supply chain of illicit drugs to the market in the united states. here's how we dropped the ball in the last ten years, in my opinion. the antidrug alliance in south america that was really the work of george herbert walker bush, which he helped altogether has now fallen apart. we stood by as the last mexican president failed to devise a strategy gives the narcotraffickers. is that provides response over the last six years has made matters worse. leftist regimes in venezuela, bolivia, ecuador and a solider in nicaragua hijacked the countries and switched sides in the war on drugs. a narco state in venezuela has
looted at least 350 bones are in oil revenue and profits today from narco trafficking money-laundering throughout the americas and europe. they use their billions to so corruption and instability in the transit zones in central america, the caribbean and into mexico. even call him before we invested $10 million in aid and a trusted partners, leftist guerrilla secure a peace deal that produced an explosion of cocaine that i refer to an armed smugglers that are thriving in venezuela under the protection of the regime. china and russia provide intelligence support, weapons and banking ties that abet criminal regimes and profitable schemes. in this dangerous climate we need mexico to do more. the new presidents talk of fighting the drugs within amnesty or social programs sounds like like a recipe for surrender. here's what we can do better. during this transition in mexico we had to lock in a mutually
beneficial economic and social security cooperation that exists today. the president of the united states should designate and ambassador to mexico whose judgment and loyalty he trusts to maintain a candid dialogue on sensitive issues that we should encourage mexico's president to fulfill his anticorruption mandate by imposing the rule of law and overhauling mexico's police and criminal justice system. congress should quickly approve, our congress should quickly approve in my opinion u.s.-mexico-canada agreement to secure export markets in u.s. trade ties to produce jobs for the united states. on the international front we should work closely with the new government of brazil to restore original antidrug alliance. we must increase asymmetrical measures to attack transnational organized crime threat. more investigators, more prosecutors, more intelligence and more legal authorities are needed to sanction and punish kingpins and choke off cash to the criminal operations.
we should work with our neighbors to confront the narco state in venezuela and dismantle its criminal network. we should help continue to help colombia eradicate coca and secure its border with venezuela and final we should investigate, expos encounter activities by cuba, russia and china abetting traffic and other criminal activity in the americas. we have a lot of work to do obviously. they give a much for your attention. >> thank you. professor realuyo. >> thank you, chairman cornyn, ranking member durbin, for the opportunity to appear before you today to testify on the threats posed by mexican ptos for national security and use in mexican efforts to counter them. mexican cartels are engaged in a variety of illicit activities which includes drugs, arms, human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion and money-laundering. they thrive in a culture of corruption in purity in mexico and they use violence and the threat of violence to empower and enrich themselves. they have also capitalized sadly
on america's voracious appetite for drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine. the national opiate epidemic fueled by her with an fentanyl coming mostly from mexico is significantly impacting the public health, economy and national security of the united states. in 2017 the national security strategy recognized transnational organized crime as a threat to u.s. interests at home and abroad. it emphasizes the need to secure our borders and pursue transnational threats to their source. the u.s. and mexico into one of the most extensive bilateral military law enforcement relationships in the world that illustrates the concept of defense in depth which means working with our international partners. through the 2008 initiative this has helped to build the capacity of mexican authorities through more effective poppy eradication, monitor operation, border security, extradition cases and anti-corruption
programs. the military has been deployed in the streets of mexico in law enforcement missions but the violence continues and has escalated. mexico had a record number of complement ambassador wayne test with a 31,174 homicides in 2017 which represents a 27% increase compared to 2016 and which is made the years and to reflect even higher numbers. mexican the president lópez obrador has pledged to fight corruption and in the violence plaguing mexico. these two priorities are reflected in his national plan for peace and security 2018-2024. the new plan intends to reform mexican security services by creating a national guard to address crime and violence had on. it's considering granting amnesty to low-level drug traffickers and legalizing marijuana and possibly poppy cultivation. this is quite divergent from
previous mexican government policies and from u.s. law enforcement and counter-narcotics interests. it's too early to tell if and how a lot of cooperation on poppy eradication interdiction operation in the fight against cartels will continue under amlo. regarding the central american mac migration crisis, we're trying to address the american crisis at the border and are considering requiring asylum-seekers to stay mexico as they get processed through the use court system in the last 24 hours mexico has publicized a plan to create a marshall plan that would extend about $3 billion over the next five years in order to consummate the assistance to the u.s. and other countries are granting to the northern triangle and great looking for to hearing more details about what that would consist up to do with the root causes of the migration. the two countries must work together to protect our country from drugs arms, human trafficking, corruption could when anyone mexico in the us
share interest is with regard to fighting corruption and money laundering that empower these cartels. the national plan includes a proposed prevent and combat money-laundering associate with crime and corruption. it estimates 20-$30 billion a year could be recovered or ceased. on this front the u.s. should emphasize the importance of efforts on to fight corruption but the mexican cartels with the following recommendations. number one, exploit financial intelligence and law enforcement operations against the cartels pick number two, aggressively pursue the top cartel financiers since the main objective is to maximize profits and these financiers are very, very difficult to replace. number three, encourage improved coronation among prosecutors. the financial intelligence unit, bank regulars and law enforcement agencies in order to achieve more money laundering convictions and deter criminal activity. number four, advocate for the swift passage of non-conviction
forfeiture before mexico's congress as well as beneficial ownership disclosures. number five, , provide training and technical assistance the counter money laundering and promote better interagency within mexico but one partly international cooperation with our counterparts through information sharing. in conclusion mexican cartels posters threats to the public health, prosperity and national security of the u.s. and mexico. the two countries must identify common interests, they'll trust and collaborate across the security, counter-narcotics, trade and governance portfolios and enhance foreign assistance programs that are underway to directly counter the mexican cartels. thank you for your attention. i look forward to questions. >> thanks, professor. chief magnus. >> chairman cornyn, ranking member durbin, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you. i'm the chief pleas for tucson, arizona, and i've been in
policing for four years, 20 is achieved. i've always made it a priority to work towards strengthening police community ties would like to approach this discussion from a slightly may be slightly different angle than the other panelists today. working in a large diverse city located near the mexican border i understand the need for border security. i have seen have transnational criminal organizations bringing drugs into the u.s. pray on emigrants to further enrich and increase increase their profits. there is no simple solution to these problems. improving border security and achieving community safety is going to require cooperation and trust it when all levels of law enforcement, but just as critically between immigrant communities and the local police. the tucson police department teamed up with the feds to go after drug cartels, human and gun traffickers and money launderers. his cooperation is essential to combat these threats but at same time great funding from the federal government serves as a
critical resource to keep our communities safer. earlier this year the tucson police department partnered with atf and hsi to arrest 53 wanted violent and sex offenders. also participated in an operation that included hsin the dea to target a heroin trafficking ring. these instances and many others we've seen the benefits of partnering with each other. many of my colleagues and i believe for security solutions must be strategic to address serious threats. according to recent stats from the cbp, more than 80% of hard drugs drugs intercepted along the border are seized at ports of entry. directing federal resources into improving staffing and infrastructure around ports of entry would be far more effective in halting the movement of drugs and guns across the border than simply constructing new barriers between these ports.
tucson is of the six are just -- we are in the sixth largest county in the united states. our republican sheriff who has responsibility for policing 125 border miles told lawmakers they would be better off giving a fraction of the billions it would take to build the wall to law enforcement. he said i think it's kind of a medieval solution to a modern problem. many of my colleagues and i agree with him. demand for drugs in the u.s. tries trafficking, leading cartels to seek profits to victimizing the public on both sides of the border. we must work diligently toward reducing the demand for drugs through the use of effective treatment programs. doing this will cut off the lifeblood of these criminal organizations that take advantage of those struggling with addiction. facing a growing number of opioid deaths in tucson, we launched a program to prioritize drug treatment overincarceration we never allow officers to use
discretion in diverting suspects caught with small amounts of narcotics into treatment instead of jail. suspects caught selling drugs or those with most felony warrants are in eligible. this has broad public support and something as lower our jail population while at the same time getting addicts the treatment they need. i believe local police best serve our communities by leaving the enforcement of immigration laws to the federal government. immigration enforcement at the local level, irresponsibly diverts very limited resources that we critically need to keep our community safe. tucson takes pride in being welcoming to all. we're not a sanctuary city but we do work to maintain community confidence and trust and trustw enforcement. we want victims and witnesses no matter their immigration status to seek out help and cooperate with us to stop dangerous criminals. recently policing has become harder in many of our
neighborhoods. the climate resulting from the current rhetoric and crackdown on immigrants undermined trust and poses major challenges to police officers. aggressive federal enforcement, including courthouse arrests and other high-profile operations terrify not only the undocumented but their american-born family, friends and coworkers. as a result, and already marginalized community is less inclined to turn to us, making it much harder to apprehend criminals. when crimes go unreported and unsolved, the cartels go unchecked and increase the power. current efforts to force local police to take on federal immigration enforcement responsibilities only worsen this dynamic. in addition efforts to strip federal grant funding from localities deemed to be uncooperative leaves cities with fewer resources and that leads to increases in crime. the members of this committee have the ability to set a new standard in law enforcement, one that creates a balanced approach
to public safety that not only preserves cooperation between local law enforcement and the feds but also between local police and immigrant communities. i encourage you to do so. working together i have no doubt we can curb drug demand, combat the cartels and make our immunities safer. thank you very much. >> thank you chief. >> thank you for the invitation to beer. it's a great honor to be here with you. i was asked to be a link between the -- also to look at what the current moment of change for the government of mexico might be in terms of we can do to manage the border manage migration together. in terms of the links that exist, transnational crime activity, the next link between organized crime and migration is the way we seen a transnational crime in mexico and central america is a base of the violence of people expressed in the daily life. they are not necessarily being
played on by large international drug trafficking organizations but the gangs and the smaller thuggish groups that prey on local communities get their resources, weapons and legitimacy above all from the connections from the large transnational crime organizations. for the most part, migrant smuggling organizations are different from the question asking what different from transnational crime organizations. there are cases were some drug trafficking organizations have moved into migrant smuggling but there separate lines but you see these organizations having to pay for access to smuggling points and particularly to the border to get people through. you have seen an increasing predatory forms of migrant smuggling as result of some of these relationships as well. these are utilitarian situation, and varied relationships between the migrant smugglers and the tcos. finally tcos a migrant smugglers as we've heard the chief just said, these different routes. drug trafficking highest of drug
trafficking happens at ports of intricate almost all of the major narcotics, high-value cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, at the vitamins are crossing overwhelmingly supportive entry. marijuana does cross between ports of entry. migrant smugglers overwhelming focus between ports of entry as well. marijuana is going to have significantly, between ports of entry. different smuggling routes. we have strategic moment. it is been severable and on the panel with the new present mexico, we were there for the inauguration, it's the chance to restore a bilateral agenda on organized crime and also look at strategic options for managing migration flows in different ways. we've heard mexico's going three moment where their interests are converging somewhat with ours in different ways than we were to pick mexico's no longer ascend of migrants of unauthorized migrants. most mexicans who come to the united states come through legal path. as of november with us
yesterday, as of november there were more guatemalans retried, were apprehended at the border than mexico. mexico is increasingly a receiving country for migrants. increasing a transit country. because of that the begin to have similar questions that tok about the migration system what we're asking but not the same. beginning to have similar sets of issues that you think you're in terms of their immigration policy. the new government has put format ideas on the table of things they want to do. the first is enhancing the asylum system. the mexican asylum system only got 3000 applications for you to go. this year close to 30,000. lately overburden. sounds familiar. sounds like our system. this is just monumental that they say they will try to beat this up. this is something we should want help with, something we can work with them, to our advantage the more people want to apply for
asylum in mexico and there's some evidence a lot of people stay in mexico as well. they talked about creating employment-based employment-based visa for central americans have take people from central america who want to work and put them in areas with a labor shortage and mexico. this is a big undertaking. it's one thing to say you want to do this. and nothing to do this and also due to way that doesn't compete with mexican workers or perhaps do with a labor program that includes mexicans as for central americans and creating a visa. they have done this before but this is an area where we can parker, something with expertise in doing as well and it's something that would create a magnet for people to stay in mexico. third, they talk about professionalizing modernizing the national migration institute. border control immigration enforcement so that they both respect human rights and highest standard of integrity. while also channeling people into legal channels. finally did talk about investing central america. these are all things we should
think about how we can partner with them. there are opportunities for us is will to think about our asylum system. we have more than a border crisis and asylum crisis when it comes to migration. my colleague doris meisner who ran ins under both the democratic and republican administrations has proposed a rule change that would allow asylum officers to make the first decision, would speed up a sudden processes. we can be fair and i am and how we do this. we don't need to narrow asylum, we need to be time and how we create it. that would both allow people to vote more quickly and lao people really to do qualify it let me say quickly because of overtime, there is a lot we can do with mexico in terms of asylum thinking that in country processing in mexico, , working with unhcr and the mexican government. tough to do but possible. we could think about going after the worst migrant smugglers who abuse migrants through extortion and kidnapping consumptive www.as much in the past, good for forced the common good for human rights but this is a
moment both to do things to fix our asylum system but to start create discussion with her neighbors about how we do this together. thank you. >> thank you very much. a lot to work with based on the testimony we've heard so far. let me start with you, ambassador noriega. you've had experience working on the hill and around the us government, others have as well, but i'm trying to figure out what's the best place to start coming up with a plan? again, i guess i'm fixated on playing colombia because it's the one successful model, although we have a country of 125 million or so people in mexico and obviously countries that have a lot of problems, even bigger problems than central america. but i talked to senator feinstein about maybe some plan in central america, but my suggestion to her is let's not make it just narrow there. let's make a regional. i i would be interested in your
comments, ambassador wayne, in terms of how we approach this. let me preface that by saying, until recently my perception was a mexico regarded illegal immigration in the united states as our problem, not their problem. they gave transit visas as long as people didn't stay in mexico. they could just come on through. same thing with the drugs. they viewed that as our problem based on demand and not their problem, although i don't know how you view it that way when you see the toll of violent deaths that are occurring there, which is the professor said, continue to increase. maybe start, ambassador noriega, ambassador wayne, first talk about how should we conceptualize the framework so we're not just dealing with little one off issues, how can we make this sort of a comprehensive plan? should emanate from the executive branch or from the
legislative branch? >> thank you very much, senator. i was working for senator helms when plan colombia was passed, but i started working on that under ben gilman, the chairman of the house international relations committee from york. and for whom i worked for years and where i really dug in on these issues. he treated it as quite a priority. when i i came over to the senae side, i was one of the people that everybody trusted in the room among the staff because i worked for both sides. and it was a hill initiative. it was a congressional initiative, and you had folks like dennis hastert, ben gilman take the lead on the outside over here, paul coverdale, senator dodd participated, and senator hellmann's as well. it was very much folks like the
people sitting behind you who dug in on these issues and work them for a long time and established relationships with people and who identified folks in colombia that we could work with, and started sort of a a tactical approach. and then the folks in the state department responded. pete romero took the ball and ran with this, and they helped the colombians come up with an answer to the question, how do we have a response? was really both engaged but it was congress really pushing and insisting that we go with real money. as one of the chairman at the time said, make no small plans picky challenge the state department to come back with an aggressive plan. and, frankly, congress increased the amounts and engaged. with central america, there is a
plan that's on the table really and actually it has been implemented. it was conceived without of the inter-american development bank, and they put together a very comprehensive approach that the central american countries are then matching with their own resources. so that's out there on the table. i would suggest that as you look at this problem, it's the global threat, the organized crime, which by the way, drug trafficking only accounts for 40% of its $2.2 trillion income. speedy we leave the last few moments of this hearing and go live to london were british prime minister theresa may is getting a statement about the ongoing brexit negotiations. this is live on c-span2. >> let me touch on two significant conclusions from the other business of the council.