Crisis at the Southern Border: Drug Smuggling, Human Trafficking Persist

The crisis along the Southern Border persists, even during the pandemic, as several drug trafficking and human smuggling cases this week demonstrate the difficult task U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents face, even with the increase in border walls and lighter traffic flows due to the otherwise grinding halt of the virus. The business of the border is drug trafficking and human smuggling, and neither crime has abated.

On Tuesday, Yuma Sector Border Agents from Wellington Station immigration checkpoint on Interstate 8 intercepted 56 pounds of methamphetamine valued at $113,000 on the street.

The 38-year-old male driver was a Lawfully Admitted Permanent Resident from Mexico and was arrested on drug smuggling charges and his 2008 Dodge sedan and the narcotics were seized.

Under current laws, LAPRs can legally be deported if they violate U.S. immigration laws. LAPRs can be placed into removal proceedings if they have been convicted of two separate crimes categorized as a “crime of moral turpitude” or a single “aggravated felony,” based on the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) through the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).

On Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Office of Field Operations at the World Trade Bridge in Laredo, Texas intercepted a shipment of hard narcotics valued at over $11.1 million.

“Even though anti-terrorism is our primary mission, CBP officers maintain their vigilance to ensure commercial entries are safe and free of contraband,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry.

The 2005 Freightliner tractor trailer hauling a shipment of plastic floor panels arriving from Mexico was discovered to have approximately 557 pounds of alleged methamphetamine concealed within the shipment with a street value of $11,145,575.

The case was turned over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

Human smuggling operations have also been thwarted by the U.S. Border Patrol this week.

Agents just north of Laredo on Interstate 35 recovered a tractor and stolen trailer at a checkpoint on May 11.

Upon running an immigration check on the driver, a border patrol canine discovered 49 individuals, including four juveniles, all illegally present in the United States from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. All individuals were taken into custody pending investigation.

The driver, a U.S. citizen, was also taken into custody. The tractor was seized by the Border Patrol. The trailer had been reported stolen, and was turned over to the Webb County Sheriff’s Office.

Drugs and human trafficking are the headlne crimes at the border, but the routine violations also persist.

Five illegal aliens from Bangladesh were intercepted in the same vicinity on Wednesday, however, after interviewing and screening, posed no terror threat to the U.S. and were subsequently charged with immigration violations.

Despite the Corona Virus pandemic, the U.S. Border Patrol agents face the same criminals as always. The traffic flow may have slowed, but the incoming streams of illegal drugs and trafficked women and children persists, unabated.

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