Getting serious about the drug war…

The following article was recently featured in the Mexican magazine El Proceso in Spanish, online here, with the English translation posted at This is an interesting development, as it parallels what Columbia did in the 90s to fight their drug cartels. It was only when the USA became involved, with permission given by then Columbian president Gaviria to eradicate the country of drug lords who were seemingly overtaking the country. The CIA set up offices in the American Consulate and provided logistical information to the army, and even to a group called Los Pepes, vigilantes made up of people who had been persecuted by Escobar or were his competition. It was equipment supplied by the CIA to the army that finally located Pablo Escobar and killed him. It seems that something similar may be taking place now in Mexico (although not necessarily with the vigilantes!). This could be a turning point for Mexico’s war with the drug cartels.

Mexican Magazine Proceso reveals the location of a US Military-Intelligence “Megaplex” in Mexico City.

  • The Megaplex includes offices for the CIA, FBI, DEA, Defense Intelligence, BATF, Department of Treasury and others.
  • U.S. Intelligence Operatives will no longer have to disguise themselves as diplomats.
  • Mexico will now have a Military ‘Liaison’ for NORTHCOM.
  • U.S. is now in charge of all tactical efforts against the drug war, counter-insurgency, and counter-terrorism in Mexico.
  • Obama and Hillary Clinton are credited for the creation of the Office of Bi-lateral Intelligence in Mexico (OBI).

With the approval of Felipe Calderón’s Administration, the U.S. Government finally got what it always wanted: To set up a super spy center in Mexico City. It was the escalation of the drug war in the country what opened the door to all U.S. intelligence agencies, including the military, to operate out of the Federal District without having to disguise their agents as diplomats.

The establishment of the Office of Bi-national Intelligence (OBI) was authorized by Calderon, after negotiations with Washington, which began under the government of his predecessor, Vicente Fox Quesada. The creation of the super spy center was authorized by the director of the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN), Guillermo Valdés Castellanos, without taking into account any objections from the Mexican military.

Through the OBI, Calderon has given the green light to U.S. Intelligence agents to spy on organized crime syndicates and drug cartels. They can also spy on Mexican government agencies, including the Secretariat of National Defense, Navy, and the diplomatic missions in Mexico.

The building headquarters, which includes offices from the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Treasury is located at 265 Paseo de la Reforma Avenue, approximately 250 meters from the U.S. embassy.

The most significant presence at the OBI building is that of the Pentagon, which includes the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the National Security Agency (NSA). It is followed by the U.S. Department of Justice, also with three agencies: the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

With two services, there is the Department of Homeland Security: Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI) and the Bureau of Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE), while the Treasury Department has officers of the Bureau of Intelligence on Terrorism and Financial Affairs (TFI) .

In addition, the OBI opened two remote offices: one in Ciudad Juarez and one in Tijuana, housing U.S. agents and “task force commanders” who coordinate operations against drug trafficking with the support of Mexican Government personnel.

It is not known how many intelligence agents from the U.S. are operating in Mexico with the authorization of the Mexican Federal Government, since the creation of this center was announced on August 31st. The maintain that the exact number is “classified.”

The building where the OBI is located gives the impression of an ordinary business facility, with banks, insurance, telecommunications, commercial offices and private offices. The only thing that stands out is the entry and departure of U.S. citizens.

The building directory lists the names of the occupants all the way up to the 21st floor. However, after the 22nd floor, there are three penthouses that are only listed as “occupied.” And on the roof there is a dozen satellite dishes placed just above the logo of the telecommunications company Axtel.

“It’s the best covert location for the agencies to operate,” said the source that provided the location of the OBI. The ordinary appearance of the building is the way in which the United States often disguise intelligence centers around the world.

The reception and parking are guarded by private security services, while Federal District Police provide outside support.

Furthermore, the city government has installed special surveillance cameras with sirens to observe the movement of pedestrians and vehicles outside the building.

The main example of this cooperation is the presence -for the first time in the bilateral relationship- a member of the Mexican Army as a “liaison” between the Mexican military (Central Command) and the Northern Command in Colorado (NORTHCOM), according to a military source who spoke to the Mexican magazine Proceso.

Read the full article here.


One Response to Getting serious about the drug war…

  1. Richard Scott says:

    When the Columbian cartels were weekended, it allowed the Mexican cartels to gain the dominance they now have. So the problem just moved. One sure outcome pointed out in this article is the expansion of the intelligence community and greater involvement of the military.

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