NY senator proposes policy to thwart Canada-U.S. drug smuggling

| 4/22/2010

The United States’ northern border has become the leading gateway for “ecstasy” smugglers bringing the drug into the country, yet the federal government is slated to cut millions in funding to address illegal drug smuggling.

One U.S. Senator says he’ll work to get federal authorities to develop a strategy to address the drug problem.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said Wednesday that seizures of MDMA – known on the street as “ecstasy” – along the northern border since 2005 are eight times greater than seizures along the country’s southwest border.

Since 2007, cocaine seizures at the northern border have risen from less than 1 kilogram to 18 kilograms, and heroin seizures have increased from less than 1 kilogram to 28 kilograms.

“We need to push back hard against the recent rise in drug smuggling across the Canadian border,” Schumer said Wednesday in a prepared statement. “It is concerning that no one has yet developed a comprehensive strategy for fighting drug smuggling across the northern border, and it’s a problem that has to be addressed immediately.”

According to Schumer’s office, the Obama Administration has proposed cutting funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Program in 2011 from $239 million to $210 million. The HIDTP is overseen by the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Schumer has proposed a restoration of funding for the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Program through the Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy Act of 2010, which was recently introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Bill Owens, D-NY.

“Right now, New York’s communities are outgunned in the fight against drugs and that just can’t continue,” Schumer said.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer