Smuggling rises via big rigs at traditional border crossings

| Wednesday, April 09, 2003

With tightened security in remote parts of the U.S. border, drug smugglers have returned to using formal U.S.-Mexico crossings to slip across drugs, The Associated Press reports.

According to U.S. and Mexican officials, drug smugglers are using trucks, big rigs and cars to overload formal border crossings with more drugs than customs inspectors can detect, The AP reported.

"The smugglers are becoming more brazen," said Rick Pauza, a customs spokesman for the border crossing between Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. "There's such a large quantity of narcotics that they're trying to move through now that they are willing to lose substantial quantities if we find them."

According to officials, more drug gangs are shipping Colombian cocaine to Mexico rather than flying it direct to the United States.

"September 11 has made it harder to cross contraband into the United States," said Charles Harrison, special agent in charge of customs operations in South Texas. "We have dramatically increased the pressure all over the border."

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