In a break with a longstanding practice, U.S. and Mexican authorities have agreed to have some Mexicans caught smuggling drugs into the U.S. returned to Mexico for prosecution, reports the New York Times. Last weekend, for the first time, a suspected marijuana smuggler found at the border with 44 pounds of pot hidden in his car was turned over to Mexican prosecutors.
Often, Mexicans caught smuggling drugs do not face prosecution in the U.S. for that crime. Federal prosecutors across the Southwest typically reject cases involving relatively small amounts of drugs, usually less than 500 pounds of marijuana, because of the large volume of those cases and limited resources to handle them. In recent years, immigration prosecutions have surged while drug prosecutions have declined.