Amid increased cartel presence in U.S., DHS touts border seizures

| 2/10/2011

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security this week announced rising numbers of drug and cash seizures at the southwest border shared with Mexico.

The announcement, however, isn’t likely to make truckers feel more secure about their jobs or safety near the border, as the White House continues to make noise about expanding cross border trucking.

At a press conference Tuesday in Tucson, AZ, officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and others announced that CBP and ICE seized more than $282 million in cash, 7 million pounds of drugs, and more than 6,800 weapons along the southwest border in 2009 and 2010.

Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA director of regulatory affairs, pointed out that the rise in interceptions is notable, but “the fact remains that only a very small percentage of overall shipments of contraband are intercepted.”

“Completely opening the border to trucking from Mexico would only help to increase illegal trafficking – especially under the guise of trusted traveler programs like Free and Secure Trade (FAST) and Customs and Trade Partnership Against terrorism (C-TPAT),” Rajkovacz said.

DHS officials also touted a doubling of border agents in the area since 2004 – from 10,000 then to nearly 21,000 last year.

“In the coming months, DHS will continue to deploy additional resources to the Southwest border, including two new forward operating bases to improve coordination of border activities, improved tactical communications and 1,000 new Border Patrol Agents,” the release reads.

It appears the agents will have their work cut out for them.

Arizona has dealt with increasing violence, as well as human and drug trafficking spilling over the border from Mexico in recent years. In September, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management posted signs warning against travel near Interstate 8 in Arizona due to drug and human smuggling activity and violence.

For more information on smuggling and ties between increased violence among the cartels and the North American Free Trade Agreement, click here.