An increase of federal agents and National Guardsmen patrolling the nation’s borders is forcing smugglers to resort to new tactics to sneak drugs into the country, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. USA Today reports that some are assaulting border agents or hiding drugs in baseball bats and live animals. Others are partnering with immigrant traffickers. And more drug criminals are sneaking into the country by digging tunnels under the border, drug and border agents say.
“You’re seeing drug traffickers doing absolutely anything,” says Rusty Payne, a Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman. Nationwide, drug seizures by Border Patrol agents are up almost 20% over this time last year, the Border Patrol reported. In parts of the Southwest, marijuana seizures alone are up as much as 212%, according to the Border Patrol. Border Patrol chief David Aguilar says recent boosts in manpower have caused the increase. The patrol has hired more than 2,000 agents since Sept. 11, 2001. Aguilar also pointed to President Bush’s decision to reinforce the border with thousands of National Guardsmen.