Rethinking Anti-Smuggling Strategies
Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) are a major threat to the safety and security of our nation’s borders. DTOs actively smuggle illicit drugs into the United States, and are involved in a variety of illegal activities including violent crime and human trafficking.
In response, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has focused on improving anti-smuggling efforts to reduce the power and influence of the DTOs. One effort, the Carrier Initiative Program, provides training to frequent cross-border carriers. This public-private partnership benefits both CBP and private companies to prevent smuggling while minimizing disruption to business.
In FY 2012, CBP seized close to 3 million pounds of illegal narcotics nationwide. At the same time, according to 2010 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) crime reports, violent crimes in Southwest border-states have dropped by an average of forty percent in the last two decades.
DTOS have shifted their smuggling tactics following CBP’s recent success. The Santa Barbara County sheriff said that the tightening of security around the U.S./Mexico border has led to a rise in drug gangs growing marijuana on public lands in California. "It's made it much more difficult for the cartels to smuggle into the country, particularly marijuana, which is large and bulky," Sheriff Bill Brown said. "It's easier to grow it here."
CBP’s success in disrupting traditional smuggling routes across our borders has forced DTOs to try new drug trafficking methods. DTOs are now shifting their focus to routes within the U.S. and encountering the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) efforts to stop drug trafficking within our borders.
CBP must continue its operations and develop innovative methods to counter new DTO tactics. Continuing to collaborate with other agencies that share a similar mission deters illicit activities by DTOs and reduces their power and influence along our borders.