JULY 17, 2009
Illegal immigration may have decreased in the last year but the Mexican border remains an increasingly dangerous thoroughfare for drug smugglers who have shattered records in the last few months attempting to bring their valuable cargo into the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports an increase of 64% in drug seizures along the southern border during the first three quarters of this year compared to the same period in 2008. The agency revealed this week that it has seized an unprecedented 3.3 million pounds of drugs during the period, including 2.6 million pounds of marijuana, 60,411 pounds of cocaine, 4,384 pounds of methamphetamines and 1,446 pounds of heroin.
The Border Patrol’s Tucson sector broke an agency record by seizing more than 1 million pounds of marijuana during a 10-month period alone. It represents the largest marijuana seizure total along the nation’s 2,000-mile southern border with Mexico, according to Homeland Security officials, who estimate the drug’s street value at about $800 million.
During a five-hour period this week, agents in California confiscated $1.32 million worth of cocaine in two separate incidents near Pine Valley. In the first, a detector dog alerted officers to inspect a vehicle’s undercarriage, which had 66 pounds of cocaine in a modified compartment. A second vehicle, driven by a Mexican national, subsequently got busted with about the same amount of coke.
The southern border’s drug smuggling epidemic has gained tremendous momentum in the last few years, putting U.S. border agents under siege by heavily armed and violent cartels. In fact, days after a U.S. Border Patrol officer was deliberately killed by Mexican smugglers in 2008, then Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff warned that violence along the border would only increase.
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