As if there weren’t plenty of good reasons to secure the famously porous southern border, a San Diego newspaper reports a record-high number of methamphetamine seizures at U.S. ports of entry on the California-Mexico border.
Figures provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reveal an astounding 300% increase in California meth seizures coming from Mexico in the last few years. In the last fiscal year, 14,732 pounds of meth were seized by the San Diego Border Patrol office, accounting for a whopping 63% of the synthetic drugs seized at all of the nation’s land, air and sea ports of entry combined. Besides the obvious downside of foreign illicit drugs flowing into the country, it’s overwhelming our already swamped courts, according to authorities cited in the article. Federal prosecutors in San Diego confirm that “meth cases continue to represent the largest part of our drug prosecutions” in the last two or three years. County prosecutors that try state crimes have also seen a big increase in meth cases.
Here’s a snippet from the news story: “Methamphetamine seizures at U.S. ports of entry on the California-Mexico border reached unprecedented levels in fiscal 2014, as drug trafficking organizations strive to smuggle growing quantities of the low-cost Mexican-made product into the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures show 14,732 pounds of meth seized by the San Diego field office during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, accounting for 63 percent of the synthetic drug seized at all land, air and sea ports of entry nationwide.”
A federal agent from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confirms that the California border is the main smuggling route for Mexican cartels flooding the U.S. marketplace with cheap meth. The agency, which is responsible for enforcing the nation’s controlled substances laws and regulations, estimates that 90% of the meth consumed in the U.S. is manufactured in Mexico. The National Institute on Drug Abuse calls them “superlabs” where the extremely addictive stimulant is produced en masse. Meth comes in the form of a white, odorless crystalline powder that’s taken orally, smoked, snorted or dissolved in water or alcohol and injected.
Once the drug gets smuggled through the southwest border, it’s distributed throughout the country, as far away as New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Montana and throughout California. It’s a huge and lucrative business run by violent street gangs in the U.S. In fact, last year ten members of the 18th Street gang, the largest gang in Los Angeles County, were indicted for running a large-scale meth and drug-trafficking business in the area. It turns out that 18th Street gang leaders deported from the U.S. in the 1990s helped spread the gang across Central America and into Mexico, according to news coverage of the case.
Drug smuggling—and associated violence—in the southern border region has long been a serious problem and in fact Judicial Watch has reported it for years. Back in 2006 JW wrote about a shocking DHS report documenting how Middle Eastern terrorists, violent Mexican drug cartels and sophisticated human smugglers regularly slip into the U.S. through the southern border. Millions of pounds of illegal drugs were seized entering the country through Mexico in one year alone, the DHS report revealed, including more than a million pounds of cocaine, nearly 7 million pounds of marijuana and almost 17,000 pounds of methamphetamine. This was nearly a decade ago!
In 2010 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 JW, 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 southern border which spans around 2,000 miles.