Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More hard drugs crossing the Imperial County border

The war against drug cartels continues along the US-Mexico border -- including in the Imperial Valley.
So far in Fiscal Year 2011, El Centro Sector agents have seized more than $56.6 million in drugs -- and seeing big increases for some hard drugs.

Agent Jonathan Creiglow explains that's because "marijuana is worth more in larger quantities, whereas methamphetamines, heroin and cocaine are more easily concealed and worth more."

Agents in El Centro Sector seized 182 pounds of cocaine in FY 2008. So far in 2011, they've seized 1,100 pounds.

In 2008, agents confiscated four pounds of meth -- which is up to 159 pounds so far this year.
As for heroin -- agents seized one ounce of the drug in 2008. That number's up to 958 ounces so far this year.

As the trade gets more lucrative, it also becomes more dangerous for those working on the border.
Creiglow say they have seen an increase in rockings and shootings because "they tend to safeguard their drugs coming across the border -- so for that reason, yes, it is becoming more dangerous."

The only major drug to see a decrease in smuggling in 2008 is marijuana.

Creiglow explains Border Patrol agents have shut down more marijuana smuggling operations in recent years because "They can no longer just drive across with large amounts of narcotics in their vehicles, specifically marijuana. Not only that but marijuana is worth more in larger quantities, whereas methamphetamines, heroin and cocaine are worth more and more easily concealed."

Creiglow also credits more agents with better experience on the line, better technology and the use of drug dogs for the decrease of marijuana smuggling.

However, Creiglow says that number's starting to go back up again.

It's up 8,000 pounds from 2010 year.

Agents partially blame new and more creative ways of smuggling -- including the use of ultra light airplanes.
And agents say they only expect to catch more smugglers crossing the border -- and for all these numbers to go up.


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