Drug-related arrests at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport are down sharply since Sept. 11, 2001, when tighter security began catching drug users and traffickers nationwide, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. Arrests at the airport skyrocketed with the introduction of new security measures. As word got out among smugglers, arrests fell from 66 in 2001 to just three last year. The amount of drugs and cash seized in those arrests also has fallen, in some cases by 90 percent or more.
Law enforcement officials say hand searches of bags, random checks of passengers, and other steps intended to stop terrorists have scared off drug traffickers who once relied on the airlines. Federal authorities have seen a similar decline in arrests across the country as the nation’s airports clamped down after 9/11. Traffickers have turned to new methods of transporting their product. Those methods include the interstate highway system, trains, and express airfreight, which allows them to move drugs quickly by air without the risk of personal searches and arrests. “It’s like you put your finger in the dike to stop the leak and it pops out somewhere else,” said Gary Oetjen of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. National statistics suggest the trend stretches beyond Cincinnati. Federal courts saw a 20 percent jump in cases related to aircraft violations after 9/11. Those numbers then fell in the four years since the initial boost in security.