Speed Reads

Stopping the Flow

U.S. to crack down on guns going south while Mexico works to stop fentanyl heading north, report says

The United States will announce a deal with Mexico to stop illicit substances from crossing the southern border, NBC News reported Monday, with Americans working to halt the flow of guns into Mexico while the Mexican government cracks down on fentanyl moving into the U.S.

Two sources familiar with the deal told NBC that the Mexican military and police will focus on stopping the raw materials used to create fentanyl. This will include "shutting down labs that make the deadly synthetic opioid and going after key players in the illicit fentanyl trade," NBC News reports.

Mexican drug smugglers have made significant efforts in the past few years to try and move fentanyl across the border. Statistics from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed that more than 14,000 pounds of the drug were seized at the border during fiscal year 2022.

In return for this crackdown on artificial opioids, the Biden administration has agreed to tighten its grip on American weapons flowing into Mexico. The illegal smuggling of guns into Mexico remains a consistent problem, and "U.S. gun manufacturers make up seven out of the top 10 companies whose guns are most frequently seized by the Mexican military," according to The Trace, a non-profit news outlet covering gun violence. 

Mexico reportedly told U.S. officials that "any conversation about fentanyl's taking U.S. lives should also address" American guns taking Mexican lives.

This tentative agreement is a result of a months-long negotiation between the Biden administration and Mexican officials. Prior to this, NBC News said, the relationship between U.S. and Mexico in the drug war cooperation was "at its lowest point in decades."

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has previously denied his country has a fentanyl problem, saying, "We do not produce fentanyl, and we do not have consumption of fentanyl," instead blaming the U.S. for "social decay."