The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was established under Richard Nixon in 1973. For nearly half a century, the US and Latin American governments have been waging this tumultuous (and at times thankless) "War on Drugs." Unfortunately, some police officers are corrupt and act to abet the cartels. Many others have died in the line of duty, proving that not all officers can be so easily corrupted.
In the 1980s, the "kingpin" strategy was employed by the DEA. This strategy involves taking out the leading members of a cartel in order to forestall their efforts. This strategy resulted in the imprisonment of the infamous Pablo Escobar. As cartels remain profitable, and their personnel become more stratified and embedded in the fabric of Mexican society, this strategy has failed. President Trump posited building a fortified wall separated the United States from Mexico. While this initiative has not been fully realized, Trump did procure the approval of Congress to reinforce existing vertical barriers (particularly at points which are known to be the spot of drug trafficking). With an increasing number of states legalizing marijuana and an increased death count in Mexico resulting from cartel activity, many authorities now suggest that legalizing drugs is the best way to combat cartel activity (with the expectation that the demand, thus the price, and thus the attraction to individuals of working in a cartel, will all see a decline). In 2018, the DEA offered a new strategy for combating specifically the Mexican cartel by means of targeting gang members in Chicago, which, if successful, can be replicated in other major cities with persistent drug problems such as St. Louis and Detroit.