The war on terror is proving to be a boon to the war on drugs, the Christian Science Monitor says. Drug seizures are up all along the U.S.-Mexico border. Nowhere is the trend clearer than along a desolate 118-mile patch of Arizona desert across from the Mexican state of Sonora. In what is becoming one of the highest drug-trafficking and people- smuggling sectors along the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers there have seized 13,000 pounds of marijuana since Oct. 1, triple the amount captured in the same period last year, which set a record. Credited are better intelligence-sharing, increased manpower, and improved technology after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Arizona accounts for more than half the marijuana seizures in the United States. “There’s a nexus to human smuggling and drug smuggling,” says Salvador Zamora, spokesman for the CBP in Washington. “The terrain on the Mexican side is pretty much controlled by one or two organizations, and the human smugglers either smuggle drugs too or pay the drug operators who control that area.” Because of the drug smuggling and related criminal activity spilling into the area, Arizona and Sonora, started a cross-border cooperation program in June. They have agreed to share intelligence and cooperate more closely in four areas: auto theft, people smuggling, illegal money transfers, and fraudulent or false identification.