PORT HUENEME, Ca. (FNN NEWS) – The drug epidemic in the United States is staggering, and the attempt to change this narrative is a bitter fight. Politicians have divided ideas, enforcement agencies have limited resources and the citizens are at the mercy of it all. President Donald Trump has an idea to stop it all and it includes an $8 billion budget for a “wall,” or lately clarified by the president as “Whatever you want to call it!” He called it a wall so I will stick with a wall. Now, this wall seems a bit expensive to me, and here’s why.
U.S. Drug Enforcement, Customs and Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security have all agreed that billions of dollars worth of illegal narcotics enter the United States every year with the majority of it coming through the U.S. ports of entry. There are approximately 330 U.S. ports of entry and 48 ports or Mexican border crossings between Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
In January 2019 at Port Hueneme, California, two shipments of cocaine weighing 221 pounds was located in the floorboards of two cargo ships by enforcement agents, notably the largest in U.S. history.
Also in January, U.S. and Australian authorities found a record 1.7 tons of methamphetamine that arrived at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport worth $1.29 billion.
In Arizona, agents are finding millions of dollars in illegal drugs coming through mainly the ports of entry into the United States. In December 2018, $793,000 in meth and heroin was found concealed in the bed and door of a pickup truck.
In October 2018, three people, including two U.S. citizens, were arrested for trying to smuggle meth into Nogales valued at $175,260. There were also 90 pounds of meth located in another vehicle valued at $271,140 per U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
There is no argument that the lists are long and many with these types of arrests but it is also worthy to note that all of these cases were caught at the ports of entry and there are so many other millions of dollars worth of drugs that go undetected and gets in past our border agents. The drugs go straight to the U.S. streets and communities.
What about across the desert or through holes in the fence? While there are drugs coming across the desert, it is in small amounts. Rough terrain could be blamed and you can’t transport as effectively by animal or human due to the trek. The drugs that are coming over in those areas are in tunnels under the fence/barriers. There are also cases where drones are used as well as ultralight planes.
Mexican TCOs (Transnational Criminal Organizations) pretty much have no competitors and are always looking for new ways to get drugs into the corridors of the United States. Mexican TCOs exploit various aerial methods to transport illicit drugs across the SWB [southwest border] per Paul Knierim, a DEA deputy chief of operations.
In the political debate, democratic leaders were pushing for a “Border Security Budget” that would include rebuilding portions of exisiting fence, border stations, more agents, technology and patrol vehicles as well as new barrier fencing. That budget proposal was not approved. A budget that would include $1.5 million towards the president’s wall did pass. In addition to the $1.5 million, the president announced a “state of Emergency” at the southern border in order to get funds from other governmental entities (including the military) to come up with the balance on the $8 billion he wanted for the wall.
So, with the wall and what the enforcement agencies have expressed, the reports of much of the drugs coming through ports and seaports of entry, tunnels being dug and located under existing fence/barriers or even ultralight planes and drones, will “The Wall” actually stop it all? Is the money going towards the best way to combat drug smuggling? Over or under, one way or another we will one day find out.
Jim Randle is a former law enforcement officer and a current Florida National News contributor. | email@example.com