Pubdate: Fri, 17 Nov 2000
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Contact:  PO Box 120191, San Diego, CA, 92112-0191
Fax: (619) 293-1440


Seizures of cocaine along the U.S.-Mexico border in California nearly 
doubled last year amid a nationwide increase in the amount of drugs 

In fiscal 2000, which ended Sept. 30, U.S. authorities at border crossings 
in California confiscated 18,430 pounds of cocaine, an 86 percent increase 
over 1999, Rudy Camacho, director of field operations for the Southern 
California Customs Management Center, said yesterday.

Total drug seizures at the five crossings along the 140-mile border rose 
nearly 5 percent by weight to 415,973 pounds of cocaine, marijuana, 
methamphetamine and heroin.

Nationwide, customs seized a total of 1.54 million pounds of illegal drugs 
in fiscal 2000. That marked an 11.6 percent increase over the 1.38 million 
pounds seized the previous year.

Camacho attributed the increased seizures of all drugs to improved 
enforcement, including additional training and intelligence gathering and 
technology to locate hidden contraband.

The reason for the increase in cocaine seizures was difficult to pinpoint. 
He speculated that it reflects a change in smuggling patterns by Mexican 
drug trafficking organizations.

"These people are always testing different spots so what may have been 
coming through another point of entry is shifting this way," Camacho said.

The seizures of cocaine in California accounted for 56 percent of all 
cocaine confiscated last year along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.

Heroin seizures fell 23 percent to 183 pounds; methamphetamine dropped 30 
percent to 832 pounds; marijuana rose 3 percent to 396,528 pounds.

Drug arrests at the ports of entry in California's two border counties, San 
Diego and Imperial, totaled 3,491, a 21 percent drop from 1999.
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