Friday, October 21, 2016


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The Obama administration’s failure to protect the southern border has allowed Mexican cartels to smuggle record amounts of drugs into the United States, especially heroin, which is increasingly popular in the U.S.

Once the drugs get smuggled north Mexican traffickers use street, prison and outlaw motorcycle gangs to distribute them throughout the country much like a legitimate business enterprise.This has been going on for years and there seems to be no end in sight, according to a disturbing new report published by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the nonpartisan agency that provides Congress with policy and legal analysis.

“Mexican transnational criminal organizations are the major suppliers and key producers of most illegal drugs smuggled into the United States,” the CRS states in its new report.

“They have been increasing their share of the U.S. drug market—particularly with respect to heroin.” The bulk of the heroin smuggled into the United States transits across the Southwest border, the CRS writes, revealing that “from 2010 to 2015 heroin seizures in this area more than doubled from 1,016 kg to 2,524 kg.”

The trend mirrors the increase in overall seizures throughout the U.S., the CRS figures show. For instance, federal arrests and prosecutions of heroin traffickers have skyrocketed with 6,353 heroin-related arrests in 2015. Additionally, the number of individuals sentenced for heroin trafficking offenses in federal courts has increased by almost 50%, the report says.

There are at least eight major Mexican drug trafficking organizations operating in the United States with the Sinaloa Cartel being the most active, the CRS reveals. “Mexican transnational criminal organizations (MTCOs) remain the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other group can challenge them in the near term.”

They operate sophisticated enterprises, using nearly 100 U.S. gangs in their cross-border crimes, government figures show.

Because the Mexican cartels move their drugs through the Southwest border, western states have become part of what’s known as the “heroin transit zone,” the CRS report says. “In addition, as the Mexican traffickers take on a larger role in the U.S. heroin market, and expand their operations to the East Coast, authorities have seen black tar heroin emerge in the Northeastern United States, where it had rarely been seen,” the report states.

Large quantities of a synthetic opioid known as Fentanyl are also entering the U.S. primarily via the Mexican border, though the drug also comes from China. Fentanyl is 25-40 times more potent than heroin and 50-100 times more potent than morphine.

Undoubtedly, there’s an epidemic of drug abuse in the U.S. but cutting off the source would obviously improve the crisis. This may seem like common sense, but the CRS gently reminds legislators to consider it. “Policymakers may examine U.S. efforts to combat heroin trafficking as a means of combatting opioid abuse in the United States,” the CRS writes in its report.

“Policymakers may also look at existing federal strategies on drug control, transnational crime, and Southwest border crime to evaluate whether they are able to target the current heroin trafficking threat.”

Among the common-sense suggestions listed in the document is “securing U.S. borders.” It comes from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which has made disrupting drug trafficking and production a priority.

The impact of Mexican drug cartels has been well documented for some time in a number of government audits, even as the Obama administration insists the southern border is secure.

Less than a year ago the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a report confirming that the majority of illegal drugs in the United States come from Mexico and Mexican traffickers remain the greatest criminal threat to the United States.

They’re classified as Transitional Criminal Organizations (TCOs) by the government and for years they’ve smuggled in enormous quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.

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Indian Reservation

Update: a few hours after we posted this story, Border Patrol officials in Arizona reported that the road has been reopened.

An Indian reservation along the Mexican border is prohibiting the Border Patrol from entering its land, which is a notorious smuggling corridor determined by the U.S. government to be a “High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).”

Homeland Security sources tell Judicial Watch that the road in the southeast corner of the reservation has been cordoned off by a barbed wired gate to keep officers out. A hand-written cardboard sign reading “Closed, Do Not Open” has been posted on the fence. “This is the location used most for trafficking drugs into the country,” a Border Patrol source told JW, adding that agents assigned to the area are “livid.”

The tribe, Tohono O’odham, created the barricade a few weeks ago, Border Patrol sources tell JW, specifically to keep agents out of the reservation which is located in the south central Arizona Sonoran Desert and shares about 75 miles of border with Mexico.

The reservation terrain consists largely of mountains and desert making it difficult to patrol. For years it has appeared on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) HIDTA list because it’s a significant center of illegal drug production, manufacturing, importation and distribution.

The reservation is a primary transshipment zone for methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana destined for the United States, a DEA official revealed in congressional testimony a few years ago. In 2015 Arizona led all four Border Patrol sectors in drug seizures with 928,858 pounds of drugs confiscated, according to agency figures.

The relationship between the Border Patrol and the tribe has been stormy over the years, with accusations of human rights violations by federal agents and allegations that the agents’ presence has implemented a police state. Though only 75 miles runs along the Mexican border, the reservation is about 2.8 million acres or roughly the size of Connecticut and has about 30,000 members.

The tribe’s official website says that nine of its communities are located in Mexico and they are separated by the United States/Mexico border. “In fact, the U.S.-Mexico border has become an artificial barrier to the freedom of the Tohono O’odham,” the tribe claims. “On countless occasions, the U.S. Border Patrol has detained and deported members of the Tohono O’odham Nation who were simply traveling through their own traditional lands, practicing migratory traditions essential to their religion, economy and culture. Similarly, on many occasions U.S. Customs have prevented Tohono O’odham from transporting raw materials and goods essential for their spirituality, economy and traditional culture. Border officials are also reported to have confiscated cultural and religious items, such as feathers of common birds, pine leaves or sweet grass.”

A New York Times story published years ago explained that tightening of border security to the east and west after the 9/11 terrorist attacks funneled more drug traffic through the Tohono O’odham reservation. This created a need for more Border Patrol officers to be deployed to the crime-infested area.

The article also revealed that tribe members are complicit in the trafficking business. “Hundreds of tribal members have been prosecuted in federal, state or tribal courts for smuggling drugs or humans, taking offers that reach $5,000 for storing marijuana or transporting it across the reservation,” the article states. “In a few families, both parents have been sent to prison, leaving grandparents to raise the children.” The drug smugglers work mainly for the notorious Sinaloa Cartel, the piece revealed.

Nevertheless, federal officers have been told by Homeland Security superiors that they can’t cut the new wire fence obstacle to access the reservation even though it sits in the Border Patrol’s busiest drug sector. Perhaps the U.S. government can use money to force compliance. The Tohono O’odham recently got a huge chunk of change from Uncle Sam, $2.75 million, to build single-family homes for its largely poor tribe members.

Maybe the feds can withhold future allocations for the tribe’s various projects until it allows Border Patrol officers to do their job. In the meantime, a veteran Arizona law enforcement officer who’s worked in the region for decades says “a little wire and a small gate can cause huge security problems.”

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Meth Smuggling California

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.



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