JULY 31, 2007
Years after the deadliest terrorist attacks in U.S. history, security along the southern border is so bad that the head of an Arizona law enforcement agency assures there are areas where battleships could get across with nobody noticing.
The problem is so severe that the sheriffs department in the Arizona county of Pima was forced to create a special crime unit targeting Mexican drug and weapons smugglers. The Pima County Sheriff’s new Border Crime Unit strives to clean up much of the mess left by federal negligence, according Sheriff Clarence Dupnik who made the battleship comment.
With about 1 million residents, Pima County includes Tucson and is one of the busiest border crossing points for Mexican illegal immigrants and drug smugglers trying to make it into the United States. Security along that stretch of the border is dismal and local law enforcement agencies must deal with the consequences since many of the crossers are not simply hard-working, honest folks seeking a better life.
In fact, the U.S. Border Patrol reveals that an increasing number of those caught entering the country illegally have criminal records. Just this week, Border Patrol agents in Tucson arrested five illegal aliens from Mexico who had smuggled more than a ton of marijuana. The ringleader, a 32-year-old man from Guanajuato, had previous convictions for burglary, smuggling, repeated illegal reentry and various probation violations in a span of 13 years.
In a separate incident up the border in Texas, two Mexican teenagers were arrested for trying to smuggle 50 pounds of cocaine into the U.S. Customs agents in Texas and New Mexico say they have seized nearly 1,000 pounds of cocaine in 82 incidents so far this fiscal year.
If security along the southern border doesn’t improve, these incidents will only increase and local law enforcement agencies along the south will get stuck with cleaning up the mess.
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