Flow of Illegal Drugs Declines along Arizona Border

Article excerpt

Byline: Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The seizure of illicit narcotics bound for the United States, especially marijuana, declined last year on the Arizona-Mexico border, U.S. authorities say, attributing the drop to increased interdiction efforts by law-enforcement officers and the presence of the Minuteman volunteers.

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) law-enforcement bulletin, issued in January but made public yesterday, said marijuana seizure in Arizona fell by 20 percent from 894,744 pounds in 2004 to 656,364 pounds last year. Cocaine seizure dropped from 9,511 to 7,011 pounds; heroin went from 149 to 52 pounds; and methamphetamine decreased from 2,173 to 1,913 pounds.

Similar decreases were reported in California, Texas and New Mexico, although the DEA bulletin focused on the Arizona totals.

"There appear to be several factors accounting for the decrease in drug seizures and resultant new overall illegal drug smuggling trend along the Arizona border," the nine-page bulletin said. "During the months of April and May 2005, several high-profile operations targeting illegal immigrant smuggling operations may have impacted drug smuggling operations and the normal flow of illegal drugs across the Arizona and Mexico border.

"This multiple law enforcement agency effort was established to curtail illegal alien smuggling into the U.S., with the placement of additional law enforcement presence along the border."

The bulletin also said that during April and May last year, a high-profile campaign was conducted on the Arizona-Mexico border by civilian volunteers known as the Minuteman Project. The bulletin said the volunteers conducted 24-hour observation and lookouts on the Arizona-Mexico border and reported smuggling activities by radio to law-enforcement agencies. …