Photo David McNew Getty Images

Photo: David McNew, Getty Images.

Sophisticated drug smuggling at U.S.-Mexico border

Border Wars details so much of what U.S. Border Patrol agents face in enforcing drug and immigration laws. It is a must-watch television show about what really happens along the Mexico-U.S. border, not what politicians think happens.

A good portion of the show details the efforts to stem illegal immigration. I talked about that in a recent commentary.

The other segments of the episode depict far more frustrating law enforcement challenges than illegal immigration. Stopping the drug trade and money laundering is almost impossible.

Often in the show when there is a successful money or drug bust, the announcer comments that although a particular raid was successful, it is only a small victory in a huge war the U.S. is losing.

On one segment, a semi-truck loaded with $14 million worth of seized drugs is escorted to an incinerator where the drugs were obliterated, only to be concluded with the comment that there is far more where that came from that did not get captured.

One absurdity in that section is that the truck was escorted in the U.S. by heavily armed guards to protect it against a raid from Mexican drug cartels to steal back the drugs. It’s ridiculous to think drug cartels have become that strong in this country.

As I watched, I kept wondering what could be done to enhance the border protection effort - put up more barriers, hire more agents, or stiffen drug possession penalties? All that has been done and will likely again be employed.

One segment involved monitoring trains crossing the border. As a long freight train passed an x-ray device, a Border Patrol Agent spotted something suspicious on a monitor. He ordered the train stopped and dogs deployed sniffing for people and drugs. A dog alerted agents to a car carrier rail car.

Crawling underneath the car, agents spotted a recently cut and tack-welded steel plate. They broke the plate loose to discover a compartment filled with drugs. It was not a big haul, but it was a sophisticated operation.

Someone had to crawl under the car, cut the steel plate with a welding torch or grinder, load the drugs and reseal the compartment, and likely all in broad daylight in a rail yard. Plus, a drug trafficker had to track that rail car for the drugs to be retrieved.

No one paid attention?

Wonder what would happen if the agents unhooked that rail car from the train, and confiscated it and the contents…brand new cars? Park the rail car loaded with new vehicles on a siding until they could be sold at auction for scrap.

Bet the car manufacturer and the rail car owner would not be happy. Maybe someone would pay attention to what happens in rail yards and manufacturing plants.

I am not targeting railroads or car manufacturers, but American business must do more to help in the battle against drugs. Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement can only do so much - Americans must do more. Maybe a few confiscated trains and a couple thousand cars would get noticed.

No one can stop the drug trade until Americans are no longer customers. However, Americans can do more to support those who are trying to stem the flow.

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