Diana Washington Valdez
El Paso Times
August 17, 2011

The next phase of the Merida Initiative will focus on Mexico’s northern states and in assisting state and local police in fighting the drug cartels, William R. Brownfield, a U.S. State Department official, said today.

“This is where most of the cartels have focused their activities,” said Brownfield, adding that the initiative has already produced tangible results.

Brownfield, assistant secretary of the U.S. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, was one of the speakers at the Border Security Conference at the University of Texas at El Paso that ended today.

Initially, the Merida initiative, a $1.5 billion U.S. aid package to help Mexico confront the cartels, involved the delivery of equipment, including helicopters and other law-enforcement tools, and working with federal police at the national level.

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