U.S. senators seek DEA answers on Mexico operations following Reuters reports

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announces the extradition and unsealing of an indictment charging former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in Washington
Anne Milgram, Administrator of the Dug Enforcement Administration (DEA), speaks during a news conference to announce the extradition and unsealing of an indictment charging former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez with participating in a cocaine-importation conspiracy and related firearms offenses, in Washington, U.S April 21, 2022. Win McNamee/Pool via REUTERS

May 25 (Reuters) - Two senior U.S. senators have written to the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requesting information on the agency's foreign operations, especially in Mexico, following news reports about the Mexican government slashing cooperation.

In April, Reuters reported Mexico had shuttered an elite unit that had worked for decades with the DEA, and earlier this month published another report detailing how the DEA had withdrawn its plane used for high-profile operations from Mexico after officials rescinded its parking spot. read more

Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, who chairs the influential Senate Judiciary Committee, and Republican Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley, a ranking member of the body, said they wanted the DEA to respond to the developments in Mexico.

In a letter to the DEA chief, Anne Milgram, they urged the agency to answer detailed questions about the closure of the elite unit and the removal of the plane, according to a statement by Grassley's office on Tuesday.

"If accurate, these reports raise additional concerns about the status of DEA operations in Mexico and the DEA's working relationship with foreign law enforcement units," the two senators said in a letter dated May 23.

The senators asked for answers on its questions within two weeks and for an urgent briefing to the Judicial Committee to be set up.

The letter follows their earlier request in November for a briefing over DEA's foreign operations amid reports there were long-standing problems with its oversight.

The senators also cited Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's allegation the elite unit had been infiltrated by criminals, comments made during a morning news conference when he was asked to confirm the Reuters report about its closure. read more

Writing by Drazen Jorgic Editing by Marguerita Choy

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.