Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently deployed Mexico’s underutilized elite marine force to combat drug cartels, after facing pressure from the Trump administration to step up its fight against the flow of narcotics, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ noted that this decision represents a change from a “counternarcotics strategy that largely ended the pursuit of high-profile arrests and focused almost exclusively on poverty alleviation.”

“We are operating again,” one senior Mexican navy officer stated. He added, “The targets we need to go after have been defined.”

For a broader context, this strategy came about after growing concern from the Trump administration that Mexico has failed to keep the drug trade in check in light of last November’s cartel murder of nine American citizens. According to some estimates, Mexico’s total murders in 2019 is on the verge of exceeding 2018’s record of 36,685.

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