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Mexico, US trade accusations about drugs

December 14, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, speaks during a news conference, after a US-Mexico bilateral meeting on disrupting transnational criminal organizations at State Department in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that Mexican drug gangs are increasingly setting up labs to produce the deadly opioid fentanyl, while Mexico accused the United States of intentionally diverting South American drugs to Mexican territory.

Sessions spoke at the binational Strategic Dialogue on Disrupting Transnational Criminal Organizations in Washington.

“Fentanyl is — originally started mostly from China. It’s being sent in by mail directly to the United States,” Sessions said. “A considerable amount has been shipped to Mexico and then enters across the border in some fashion from Mexico.”

“We are also seeing precursor chemicals in Mexico and manufacturing labs begin to develop in Mexico. So one of the priorities I would like to see us do is to nip that in the bud, stay very intensely focused on those laboratories, and make sure that it does not become a big problem in the future.”

Later, the Mexican government said in a letter to a U.N. human rights official that the United States “has made a conscious decision dating from 20 years ago and recognized by its own officials to divert the flow of drugs from South America to Mexican territory.”

The letter to Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. human rights chief, did not offer any further explanation of the alleged U.S. policy. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The meeting in Washington was aimed at increasing cooperation on fighting drug cartels. The United States pledged to share the criminal records, possible gang affiliations and biometric data for people being deported to Mexico who had them.

Mexican Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong played down any differences between the two nations.

“There is more that unites us than what divides us. The security of our people is the higher good for both administrations,” he said.

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