SIUs are operated by the DEA in some 15 countries, and the United States consider them invaluable in accomplishing their missions, and although they are trained by DEA officers, they are under the control of national governments.
According to sources, the Mexican government disbanded them in 2020 as a result of the dispute with Washington over the capture in Los Angeles of former Secretary of Defense Salvador Cienfuegos at the request of the DEA on charges of collusion with drug cartels.
Also according to said sources, Mexico formally notified the DEA in April of last year that the unit had been closed, according to an agent who requested anonymity. A second source familiar with the situation also confirmed the closure of the group.
Mexico’s Ministry of Public Security and Citizen Protection, however, did not respond to repeated requests for comment, and the DEA declined to speak publicly on the matter.
Other outlets cite officials from the US embassy in Mexico as the main source.
The elite task group was founded in 1997 as a conduit for the DEA to share clues about drug shipments and evidence obtained on US soil with previous Mexican governments.