Last weekend, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 158 pounds of alleged crystal methamphetamine during two separate routine vehicle searches at the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge.
On Saturday, September 23, CBP officers became suspicious of a 2009 GMC Sierra driven by a 29-year-old American citizen. After issuing a second examination of the car, a CBP canine unit alerted authorities to the presence of drugs inside the vehicle. A thorough search of the car found 32 packages of alleged crystal meth, totaling 122 pounds.
Then on Monday, September 25, CBP officers again suspected a driver of smuggling drugs into the United States. Here, the canine unit discovered 36 pounds of alleged meth. This alleged drug smuggler was a 40-year-old Mexican citizen.
Both drivers were arrested and the case was handed to Immigration Customs Enforcement. The drugs and vehicles were detained by authorities as well.
In total, the confiscated drugs are worth $3,247,816.
“These significant narcotic seizures are examples of the remarkable border security work our CBP officers undertake on a daily basis,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry. “Our officers remain vigilant and continue to be successful in keeping these narcotics off our streets and away from our youth.”
Earlier this month, CBP authorities confiscated nearly $4 million worth of alleged crystal methamphetamine hidden within a commercial trailer.
CBP authorities are in charge of protecting the nation primarily from terror threats crossing the border, but their rigorous inspection process often yields millions worth of illegal drugs as well.
On Wednesday alone, El Paso port authorities seized 450 pounds of marijuana in five different searches.
“The smuggling threat is consistent. Vigilant CBP officers are stepping up every day to stop drug loads,” said one CPB director. “The work we perform plays an important role in keeping our nation safe from all threats.”
Meth, in particular, is becoming increasingly popular on oil rigs in Texas. Texas has experienced a burst in expansion in the shale industry. Many workers take meth in order to stay on the job longer. The drug has the ability to "wire" people's brains so they can supposedly stay awake for 24 hours and work at a faster rate.
One oil rig worker told Reuters, “(On meth) I’d work 24 hours…I was just plagued with fatigue and needed something to improve my work ethic.”
According to the Albuquerque Journal, about 90 percent of meth consumed in the United States is manufactured in Mexico. This meth is often smuggled into the States in by various Mexican drug cartels. These cartels contribute to violence and murder in America due to the lucrative but dangerous black-market for drugs.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions noted earlier this year,
“Drug cartels bring death and destruction across our Southern border and sell drugs that take lives all across America. The work our ICE officers do every day to keep these criminals out of our country and secure our border is heroic and makes all of us safer."
But, as stated last year in a report by the New York Times, drug cartels have paid hundreds of Homeland Security officials nearly $15 million to “look the other way” to similar drug smuggling attempts over the last decade.
President Donald J. Trump has vowed to stop drugs coming in via the southern border. In August, he declareda national emergency to address the opioid epidemic plaguing various communities around the U.S. In 2016, there were roughly 50,000 deaths caused by drug overdoses.