Meth Smuggling Increase Across US-Mexico Border
Customs and border protection officers seized 13,195 pounds of methamphetamine at border crossings between the US and Mexico in the 2012 fiscal year, the Associated Press reports.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit says the seizure rate has more than doubled in the past two years, most prominently at San Diego’s San Ysidro entry point.
San Ysidro is the busiest border crossing point, with an average of 40,000 cars and 25,000 pedestrians trying to cross daily. According to Gary Hill, assistant special agent in charge of the US Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego, it provides a multitude of opportunities for smugglers to bring drugs across the border.
During 2012, the Border Patrol seized 5,566 pounds of methamphetamine at San Ysidro, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the methamphetamine seizures along the entire US-Mexico border. From October 2012 to March, 2,169 pounds of methamphetamine were seized at the San Ysidro border. As a result, San Ysidro accounts for 61 percent of the 6,364 pounds seized at all Mexican border crossings during the same timeframe.
This increase represents a shift in production to Mexico after recent crackdowns at US -based labs. Over the past decade, the US government has shut down a large number of methamphetamine labs and introduced severe limits on the chemicals needed to produce the drug.
The increase also reflects the Sinaloa cartel’s control over the Tijuana-San Diego area. “This is a new corridor for them,” Joe Garcia, assistant special agent in charge of ICE investigations in San Diego, told the Associated Press.
The drug is reportedly transported across the border in multiple ways. Children are caught walking across the border multiple times per week with the crystalized drug strapped to their body. Drivers usually transport it in liquid form through gas containers and tequila bottles, as it is harder to detect in the giant X-ray scanners that are used at border inspections.