Under the Obama administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents working at the U.S.-Mexico border said they felt like they were the “welcoming committee.” But the new Trump administration has changed all that, and customs officers are now allowed to screen 100 percent of all cargo trucks coming across the border from Mexico.
According to Judicial Watch, the new policy to use x-ray technology and other screening methods on every cargo truck that comes across the border, instead of the previous random screening permitted by the Obama administration, has Mexican drug cartels literally fuming.
CBP agent Patricia Cramer said, under Obama, “The order was to facilitate traffic, not to stop any illegal drugs from entering the country. We felt like we were the welcoming committee, and not like we were guarding our borders. We want to enforce the law. That’s what we signed up for.”
Approximately 471,000 trucks pass through the U.S.-Mexico border monthly, according to figures published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The busiest port of entry is in Laredo, Texas where 167,553 trucks enter the U.S. from Mexico monthly, followed by Otay Mesa in California (76,953), El Paso, Texas (58,913), Hidalgo, Texas (45,355) and Nogales with 29,439. Other busy ports include East Calexico, California (29,173), Brownsville, Texas (16,140) and Eagle Pass, Texas (12,952).
Trucks bring in everything from auto parts to appliances, produce and livestock. In fact, a veteran Homeland Security official told Judicial Watch that cattle trucks passed without inspection during the Obama administration because Mexican farmers complained that the security screenings frightened their cows. “Our guys were livid that we were not allowed to check cattle,” the federal official said.
Drug cartels often embed their drugs in cargo trucks among legitimate goods being transported into the United States, smuggling in “enormous quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana.”
Judicial Watch reported Tuesday that the cartels operate like a very efficient business, and their preferred method of transporting drugs into the country is using a cargo truck and going right through the normal port of entry.
The cartels reportedly have spotters who are watching with binoculars from hideouts near the border checkpoints to determine how tight the security screenings are at all times.
Cramer said, “They know if we’re on the job, the level of screening that we’re conducting. They watch us all the time, and they see everything.”
Last year, authorities at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility near Brownsville, Texas, discovered a tractor trailer importing a load of coconuts from Mexico. Upon inspection, the “coconuts” were discovered to each be packed full of marijuana, with the total shipment being worth around $285,000 at street value.
In a recent drug bust just last week on Sunday, July 23, customs agents at the Laredo Port of Entry caught a 1995 Viaggio commercial bus coming into the United States with a huge load of cocaine, having an estimated street value of $1,136,960.
The drugs not only come in aboard trucks and buses, however. Cartels are now starting to use airplanes. In January, an American Airlines plane, en route from Bogota, Columbia, to Miami, Florida, had to make an unscheduled stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There, maintenance crew discovered a huge stash of drugs, worth up to $434,000.
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