The chief of Northern Command, admiral William Gortney, asked today for more support from Mexico in confronting the movement of heroin that — according to senators — has generated an “epidemic” of overdose deaths in the United States.
“We need more from the Mexican government and its agencies,” said Gortney in an appearance before the Committee of Armed Service of the U.S. Senate, whose president, Senator John McCain asked the admiral to enumerate the necessary actions to reduce the arrival of heroin to the United States
Gortney, who was accompanied by the chief of Southern Commard, admiral Kurt Tidd, and the chief of Strategic Command, admiral Cecil Haney, said that this task would require deepening efforts of eradicating poppy crops, in which he said he’d be working with the Mexican marine and defense secretaries.
He also said that it is necessary to work with Canada to confront the problems on both borders and develop better detection technologies for the drug in large as well as small quantities.
In his testimony in front of Senate, Gortney said that the Mexican armed forces had eliminated 270,000 hectacres of marijuana and 570 million hectares of poppy.
“It’s not enough, and because of the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) and the Marine Secretary (Semar) acquired more helicopters to increase the efforts towards the eradication of poppies,” he said.
Questioned by Senator Bill Nelson over the level of support in Mexico, Gortney said that the neighboring country is in the middle of a 30 years struggle.
“They face immense challenges, the largest of which is corruption. If you’re looking for the root, that’s the first problem that needs to be resolved, and those are the words of Admiral (Francisco) Soberón, not mine. Confront corruption within the country and we need to support them.”
“Smear and Sedena are amazing partners in our mission, but they also have a huge challenge and we need to support them,” he said.
When Senator Nelson highlighted that at the very least it was possible to capture Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, Gortney signaled that the Mexican marines that arrested him were trained in the United States by the Mexican infantry. “That’s very good,” commented Nelson.