HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Drug Seizures Rise At Border
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Oct 2001
Source: Desert Sun (CA)
Copyright: 2001 The Desert Sun
Author: Kenny Klein


Stepped-up enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border including Calexico's 
port of entry immediately following the terror attacks of Sept. 11 had cut 
heavily into the drug trade.

But more than a month after the attacks, the border drug business is again 
on the rise as impatient smugglers have begun to move their supply.

"They have payrolls to meet like anyone else and they know there's a market 
on this side of the border," said San Diego-based U.S. Customs spokesman 
Vince Bond. "We suspect they are getting desperate."

The loads of marijuana and other drugs that are smuggled across the border 
often make their way through the Imperial and Coachella valleys to Los Angeles.

The numbers show that drug seizures from late September through Saturday 
were nearly double that of the total in the two weeks following the attacks 
on New York and Washington, D.C.

 From Sept. 30 to Oct. 13, U.S. Customs agents made 105 drug seizures 
compared to 63 from Sept. 9 to Sept. 22, said customs officials.

The new trend of seizures are a direct result of the ongoing level one 
alert, the agency's highest security response, Bond said.

That means agents are conducting more inspections and searching more 
vehicles at each of the five southwest ports of entry.

The numbers also seem to show that more smugglers are trying to move their 
shipments across the border.

"They are trying to blend like a needle in a haystack," Bond said of the 
smugglers. "The haystack is the thousands of motorists entering the United 

But a heavier government presence at the Southwest's five points of entry 
still made a difference in September compared to the same time last year, 
according to U.S. Customs figures.

During September at the points of entry in San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, Tecate, 
Calexico and Andrade, U.S. Customs agents made 186 marijuana seizures 
valued at an estimated $10.3 million compared to 309 seizures valued at 
about $15.6 million during the same period last year.

For local narcotic agents, however, it's business as usual, said one Palm 
Springs drug agent.

"We have heard about what's happening at the border but it really has not 
changed anything around here," said Palm Springs Narcotics Task Force Agent 
Greg Jackson. "I don't think any narcotic agents have seen a drop in the 
amount or price of drugs that are on the streets."
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