For those who believe the southern border is plenty secure, federal agents in one Texas sector seized more than 1,700 pounds of marijuana, 90 pounds of cocaine and 17 pounds of liquid methamphetamine in just one week. In separate incidents the same Border Patrol sector arrested three international gangsters—including members of the Mexican mafia and the notoriously violent Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13)—during the same period. Hundreds of miles to the west, agents in California snatched nearly 842 pounds of narcotics over a weekend, a chunk of it brought in by Mexican citizens with American business and tourist visas.
It has been well documented by federal law enforcement agencies that the majority of illegal drugs in the United States come from Mexico and Mexican traffickers remain the greatest criminal threat to the U.S. Mexican cartels—classified as Transitional Criminal Organizations (TCOs) by the government—have for years smuggled in enormous quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. In its National Drug Threat Assessment, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) confirmed that Mexican cartels are in a class of their own, that “no other group can challenge them in the near term.” They are sophisticated operations that function like businesses.
“These Mexican poly-drug organizations traffic heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana throughout the United States, using established transportation routes and distribution networks,” the DEA report states. “They control drug trafficking across the Southwest Border and are moving to expand their share of US illicit drug markets, particularly heroin markets. National-level gangs and neighborhood gangs continue to form relationships with Mexican TCOs to increase profits for the gangs through drug distribution and transportation, for the enforcement of drug payments, and for protection of drug transportation corridors from use by rival gangs.”
The National Drug Intelligence Center, dismantled by the Obama administration after nearly two decades of operation, published equally alarming figures regarding the Mexican drug crisis. In a detailed report published by Judicial Watch, the now-defunct agency revealed that in 2009 thousands of metric tons of heroin, meth, marijuana and cocaine were smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico and that tens of billions of dollars in drug proceeds flowed back south. At that point, much of the smuggled drugs came through the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation in Arizona, so the problem is spreading like wildfire across the vast and famously porous southern border which spans around 2,000 miles.
Many hoped the situation would improve under the Trump administration, but apparently that is not the case. Frustrated Border Patrol agents interviewed by Judicial Watch say little has changed since Trump was sworn in even though he vowed to tighten border security.
The recent figures at just two sectors situated along the Mexican border support that. The 1,700 pounds of marijuana, 90 pounds of cocaine and 17 pounds of liquid methamphetamine were confiscated by the agency’s Rio Grande Valley division during a week in mid-November. Federal authorities estimate the cocaine to be worth more than $2.7 million and the marijuana $1.3 million, according to a press release. The liquid meth is estimated to have a value of over half a million dollars. “The seizures were results of Border Patrol operations along he river and at Border Patrol checkpoints,” the agency writes in the statement.
The weekend stash in San Diego, California has a value of $8.3 million, according to the Border Patrol. It includes fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. The drugs were found in 15 separate smuggling attempts and were hidden in various areas of vehicles such as the gas tank, trunk, battery, floor, quarter panels and tires. Two of the smugglers were Mexican citizens with B-1/B-2 visas granted by the U.S. to foreigners for business, tourism or a combination of both.
The first was a 53-year-old man who got busted with ten wrapped packages of fentanyl in a compartment on the floor of his sports utility vehicle. The drugs have an estimated street value of $736,000, according to the feds. The other Mexican smuggler with a U.S. visa was a 56-year-old man driving a commercial bus with 382 pounds of cocaine worth nearly $5 million hidden in the gas tank.