LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — Border Patrol highway checkpoints in the southern New Mexico region that normally seize seven figures of worth of drugs annually have not seized a dollar in nearly four months after being shuttered in late March, allowing drugs to flood into the country. Meantime, with the added supply, prices for illicit drugs are dropping precipitously.
Those seven checkpoints have sat unattended after Border Patrol closed them to move all personnel to the border to assist with apprehending, processing, and caring for the high number of migrant families arriving.
Seven elected officials and law enforcement officials in Doña Ana and Otero counties told the Washington Examiner in interviews they worry that with no one to seize the millions of dollars of illegal substances normally confiscated while being transported north to cities such as Denver and Oklahoma City.
Normally, vehicles attempting to traverse those counties would have to pass a sniff test by a K-9 officer, and the legal status of the occupants would be checked. But since the checkpoints closed on March 25, drug runners can move product up and down the open roads.
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- Network of more than 1,000 cameras are installed on farms and ranches
- Have been strategically placed in areas that have not been secured
- ‘Sophisticated’ system led to the apprehension of nearly 30,000 suspects
- Has also slowed down cartel operations and drug smuggling
Cameras placed along Texas’ 1,200-mile border with Mexico have captured the stream of illegal immigrants sneaking into the country on a daily basis. The network of more than 1,000 motion detectors, similar to those used to film wildlife, have been placed strategically in areas that have not been secured – where Mexican citizens can cross and evade capture with ease. They helped border guards apprehend nearly 30,000 suspects and led to 88,400 pounds of drugs being seized in 2014 as part of Operation Drawbridge. The system has also had a significant impact on Mexican cartels and their ability to smuggle narcotics, people and stolen vehicles between the two countries.
- Cameras placed along Texas’ 1,200-mile border with Mexico have captured the stream of illegal immigrants sneaking into the country on a daily basis
- Mexican soldiers uncover drugs tunnel hidden in wardrobe
- The network of more than 1,000 motion detectors, similar to those used to film wildlife, have been placed strategically in areas that have not been secured. They are normally found on ranches and farms
‘The collaborative law enforcement efforts of Operation Drawbridge have bolstered our ability to combat the exploitation of our border by these ruthless criminals.’ In March it was revealed more immigrants are choosing more remote and dangerous crossing points to make it to the United States.
The Border Patrol has responded by expanding its search-and-rescue teams to monitor the area, as a growing number of bodies of suspected illegal immigrants are being found. Many of the bodies are being discovered just southwest of Mission, Texas, where the fire department’s dive-and-rescue team has had a busy winter. In January and February alone, it recovered at least six bodies in the murky canals.
In February, governor Greg Abbot claimed that had 20,000 illegal immigrants had already entered the country since the start of the year.
- Heat cameras catch illegal immigrants crammed in truck in 2013
- Some carry guns as they try to cross the border, but agencies have been able to seize larger numbers of the weapons following the installation of the cameras