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Drugs and the Border

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Describe the situation with the drugs crossing the border into the United States and is it possible to adequately address this issue and not affect the US / Mexican economic status?

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The drug violence in the border between the US and Mexico is not getting better. Thousands a year are murdered in turf wars among the numerous gangs competing for the lucrative US market. One of the main problems has been the NAFTA free trade agreement that has made it easier for drug smugglers to bring their product to American cities. Without substantial economic reform and the revocation of free trade, the drug situation will not get any better.

The official position of the governor of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua is that American intelligence manages and controls much of the drug trade into the US. Such accusations are quite common in Mexico and worldwide. On the other hand, the mayor of Juarez holds that the DEA is an ally in Mexico's own fight against narco-terrorism. The concept of CIA involvement in the drug trade was the subject of a major expose from the San Jose Mercury News in 1996. The Arabic news Agency al-Jazeera writes,

Jesús Zambada Niebla, a leading trafficker from the Sinaloa cartel currently awaiting trial in Chicago, has said he was working for the US Drug Enforcement Agency during his days as a trafficker, and was promised immunity from prosecution" (AJ, July 2012).

The nature of the drug trade into the US is the act of getting the crop from Central or South America into Mexico and, from there, into the main market, the US. The well known international policy analysis think-tank Stratfor, holds that the narco-movement into the US uses one or more of the following methods of transport:

- Tunneling under border fences into safe houses on the U.S. side.
- Traversing the desert on foot with 50-pound packs of narcotics. (Dirt bikes, ATVs and pack mules are also used.)
- Driving across the border by fording the Rio Grande, using ramps to get over fences, cutting through fences or driving through open areas.
- Using densely vegetated portions of the riverbank as dead drops.
- Floating narcotics across isolated stretches of the river.
- Flying small aircraft near the ground to avoid radar.
- Concealing narcotics in private vehicles, personal possessions and in or on the bodies of persons who are crossing legally at ports of entry.
- Bribing border officials in order to pass through checkpoints.
- Hiding narcotics on cross-border trains.
- Hiding narcotics in tractor trailers carrying otherwise legitimate loads.
- Using boats along the Gulf ...

Solution Summary

The expert describes the situations with the drugs crossing the border into the United States. Whether it is possible to adequately address the issues and not affect the United States Mexican economic status.