Forensic Laboratories in Puebla Receive International Accreditation with Merida Initiative Support

Puebla, July 7, 2017 – A ceremony today commemorated the international accreditation of the forensic laboratories of the Puebla Attorney General’s office, granted by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB). The laboratories accredited were: Genetics, Ballistics, Chemistry, Questioned Documents and CSI.

Puebla is the first state in Mexico to achieve ANAB accreditation of its forensic labs in five disciplines. The accreditation was achieved through bilateral collaboration with the United States Embassy under the Merida Initiative. This support includes technical assistance to forensics laboratories to enhance their capabilities, provision of specialized equipment to enable laboratories to be able to process and analyze evidence in support of criminal investigations, and certification of forensic scientists to international standards in seven core forensic disciplines (Genetics, Ballistics, Chemistry, Questioned Documents, CSI, Fingerprints, and Forensic Medicine). In 2017 alone, 21 forensic laboratories in four Mexican states achieved international accreditation to ISO 17025 and ISO 17020, for a total of 27 accredited labs since assistance under the Mérida Initiative began.

Under Mexico’s new accusatory criminal justice system, professional and effective criminal investigations are critical to the success of law enforcement efforts and criminal prosecutions. Forensic sciences are a fundamental part of any criminal investigation, encompassing the collection, preservation and analysis of evidence. Furthermore, forensic scientists may be called upon to testify as expert witnesses during a criminal trial. To ensure that evidence presented during a criminal investigation or prosecution is sufficiently robust to withstand cross examination, it’s vital that forensics services adhere to internationally-recognized standards and protocols. Forensic scientists also play a critical role in the identification of illicit chemical substances and bringing drug traffickers to justice.

 

In the ceremony presided by Governor Jose Antonio Gali Fayad, Tobin Bradley, the Director of the Merida Initiative office at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, emphasized that “the greatest impact of these accreditations is fairer, more transparent execution of justice.”

 

BACKGROUND

The Merida Initiative is a bilateral security cooperation agreement between Mexico and the United States. Through nine years of implementation, the Merida Initiative has led to greater cooperation between the United States and Mexico. It has provided tangible support to Mexico’s law enforcement and judicial institutions, helped to counteract the illegal trade in narcotics, and strengthened border security. To date, the Merida Initiative has delivered USD $1.6 billion in equipment, training, and capacity building assistance to the government of Mexico.