EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A U.S. Army unit based at Fort Bliss and the FBI El Paso office donated 15 pallets of personal protective equipment to law enforcement agencies in Mexico, according to a news release sent out Friday, Jan. 19 by the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico.
Joint Task Fort-North teamed up with the local FBI office to give protective gear to the Chihuahua State Attorney General’s Office, Chihuahua State Police and Ciudad Juarez Municipal Police.
The equipment consists of coveralls, heavy-duty rubber gloves, heavy-duty steel toe rubber boots and respirator filters. The equipment will assist Mexican law enforcement in responding to and disrupt drug laboratories manufacturing crystal methamphetamine and fentanyl, according to the news release.
The donation was given during a multi-agency meeting hosted by FBI Special Agent in Charge John Morales on Friday, Jan. 19.
“Exposure to these illicitly manufactured synthetic drugs can pose a significant health risk to first responders, and the provided equipment protects officers when assisting the public and when investigating a crime scene,” the news release said.
Eric S. Cohan, U.S. consul general in Ciudad Juarez, said: “This equipment will increase the Mexican authorities’ level of preparedness. Illicitly manufactured synthetic drugs threaten the safety and well-being of people on both sides of the border. By working together, we can tackle this issue more effectively.”
Joint Task Force North was created in 1989 and was originally called Joint Task Force 6. It serves as the planning and coordinating operational headquarters to support state, local and federal law enforcement to counter transnational crime and the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.
“From its inception as JTF-6 to its evolution as JTF-N, the command has supported more than 6,000 missions in direct support of the nation’s local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and counterdrug task forces,” according to the unit’s website.