Past Features

November 20, 2017

Can we stop drugs flowing
across our open border?

Border “fence” south of Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, goes for thirty miles --- and you probably won’t find a Border Patrol agent along it. See Open Border Arizona (nothing has changed along this section of the border since it was produced.)
Business Insider -- November 18, 2017    
Mexican heroin is flooding the US, and the Sinaloa cartel is steering the flow
    Heroin availability in the US --- and overdose deaths related to drug --- has skyrocketed over the past several years.
    Eleven of the Drug Enforcement Administration's 21 field divisions in the US rated it has the number-one drug threat in 2016. And while the DEA says heroin from Mexico, South America, Southwest Asia, and Southeast Asia is all available in the US, the agency's testing and research indicate that the US's southern neighbor is the dominant source.
    "Mexico and, to a lesser extent, Colombia dominate the US heroin market because of their proximity, established transportation and distribution infrastructure, and ability to satisfy heroin demand in the United States," the DEA notes in its 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment.
    Mexican cartels' shift to producing heroin --- as well as synthetic drugs like fentanyl --- has been driven in part by loosening marijuana laws in the US, and the Sinaloa cartel appears to be the main player in a lucrative market. [...]
    Most Mexican heroin and synthetic opioids are trafficked over land, frequently going through ports of entry on the US-Mexico border. Shipments travel around the US, often via the interstate highway system. Sinaloa, like most Mexican cartels, isn't involved in retail-level drug sales, but its members do travel to the US to oversee wholesale transactions, distributing bulk quantities to local sellers.

Glenn Spencer -- November 20, 2017
Can we stop heroin from crossing the border?
    A few days ago, this exchange occurred between Lou Dobbs and the Ronald Vitiello, Acting Head of CBP.
"The majority of methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana cross that border with Mexico."
"That's true. The men and women of CBP are dedicated to doing the best they can using the tools, technology --- using intelligence --- partnering with state, local --- tribal authorities --- other federal government agencies --- to stop what we can at the border --- to recognize when it's coming and be capable when it gets here.”
    There is an open question as to how much crosses between ports of entry and at the ports of entry. Based on random sampling, CBP probably has a pretty good idea how much of legitimate traffic includes illegal drugs that gets past them at the ports of entry - and they could do much better --- but at a cost in the flow of legitimate traffic. I am sure they are working on the problem.
    This is not the case between ports of entry. CBP does not know how much traffic of any sort actually comes across the border illegally.
    DHS/CBP is presently looking at ideas for
“linear ground detection and identification system capabilities that are able to detect all entering threats without being affected by blind spots created by man-made and natural occurring obstacles. This capability should also be capable of discriminating between human, animal, and vehicle targets in all terrains, landscapes, and weather conditions present where USBP conducts operations. The system should be scalable and deployable across all environments throughout the Southwest Border and Northern Border.“
    Having such a capability would go a long way toward stemming the flood of drugs across the border between ports of entry.