Washington – The United States will deliver a fourth Black Hawk helicopter to Mexico next month as part of an effort to bolster that country's capabilities under the Merida Initiative, a security cooperation pact aimed at fighting drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime.
Mexico received three Black Hawks from the United States in September.
The $20 million UH 60M Black Hawk, one of the most advanced aircraft of its type in the world, is equipped with gear that allows it to support operations at night, the State Department said.
"With additional deliveries of equipment, training, and capacity building in 2011, we intend to meet the secretary's commitment to deliver $500 million in calendar year 2011, bringing the overall total delivered to more than $900 million," the State Department said.
Officials initially said the helicopter had been delivered on Monday, but the department later said the aircraft would be given to Mexico on Dec. 8.
The United States has provided Mexico with 14 helicopters, including the three Black Hawks delivered on Sept. 15 to the Navy Secretariat, under the Merida Initiative.
The regional security cooperation pact was crafted by the Bush administration in 2007 to help Mexico, Central America, Haiti and the Dominican Republic fight drug trafficking and other forms of transnational crime.
The U.S. Congress has approved more than $1.6 billion for the pact since it took effect in 2008.
The approximately $500 million in assistance being provided this year by the Obama administration to Mexico will push the total aid received by that country under the pact to around $900 million.
Mexico has used the assistance to train more than 52,000 police officers and judicial branch employees, and improve the exchange of intelligence, leading to the arrests of more than 33 high-level drug traffickers, the State Department said.