The opioid crisis has soared over the past five years, and now U.S. authorities are assisting the Mexican government in its fight against heroin production before it gets a chance to find its way across the border.
The Trump administration recently began supplying drones and geolocation technology to Mexican authorities to help get a better idea of the heroin production that's happening south of the border, the Washington Post reported.
"Opium poppy cultivation and heroin production in Mexico believed to be the primary source of heroin for the U.S. market, have continued to surge, providing traffickers a steady stream of high purity, low-cost heroin to market throughout the United States," according to the Drug Enforcement Administration's 2017 report.
Mexico supplies 93 percent of the heroin used in the U.S., the report showed. Heroin production tripled between 2013 and 2016 in Mexico, partly because of “reduced poppy eradication," the DEA report said. But Mexican officials have denied that the rate of production has grown to that extent, according to the Post.
President Donald Trump has cited the drug crisis as one of the many reasons to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The latest initiative came out of high-level meetings between officials from the U.S. and Mexico last year. Also, in July, then-Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly joined Mexican leaders on a trip to visit poppy fields in Guerrero state.
Despite the assumption that Trump has intensified tensions with the border country, the two have made progress working together to fight the drug problem.
With Trump as president, “we thought that there would have been a chilling of relations,” Juan Carlos Silva, chief of the anti-drug division of Mexico’s federal police, told the Post. “On the contrary, we have grown closer.”