At a congressional hearing on Wednesday, Blinken said it was “fair to say” that parts of Mexico were controlled by drug cartels. Lopez Obrador reacted to the news Friday, saying Blinken’s claims were false, the Associated Press reported.
“That is false. It’s not true,” he said. “There is nowhere in the nation’s territory where authorities are not present.”
However, he conceded that some cartels had been able to infiltrate the country’s drug regulatory agency, known as Cofepris.
“They even had representatives in Cofepris, people lobbying inside Cofepris,” he said. He added that several officials had been charged in connection with the case.
Those who had infiltrated the company apparently did so to approve the importation of fentanyl-producing material from China.
On Thursday, Lopez Obrador responded to a report from the U.S. State Department that accused Mexican government officials of human rights abuses, calling them “liars,” Reuters reported.
He appeared to backtrack on his accusations somewhat, saying that Blinken was a good guy and “just doing his job.”
The United States and Mexico have experienced a period of increased tensions in recent weeks following the kidnapping of four American tourists by a drug cartel. Two of the tourists were murdered.