Napolitano sets plan to curb Mexico border drug smuggling

NOGALES, Ariz Thu Jul 7, 2011 6:49pm EDT

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano attends a news conference at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna July 1, 2011. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano attends a news conference at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna July 1, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Herwig Prammer

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NOGALES, Ariz (Reuters) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday rolled out the Obama administration's 2011 strategy to curb drug smuggling on the Mexico border, pledging to boost intelligence sharing and technology to tighten security.

President Barack Obama has been under intense pressure to beef up security on the porous southwest border to curb immigrant and drug smuggling north from Mexico, and halt the flow of guns and cash proceeds south. The strategy update was the first since 2009.

"Since that time we have been devoting really unprecedented efforts to make sure that the border is safe and secure," Napolitano told a news conference at the Border Patrol station in Nogales, in southern Arizona.

Napolitano, who was accompanied by Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Alan Bersin, U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, presented the report detailing ten strategic objectives.

Among goals going forward was boosting intelligence and information sharing with state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies along the nearly 2,000-mile border, and enhanced liaison with Mexican authorities.

The plan also sought to increase the use of technologies such as X-Ray machines at land border crossings to detect drugs headed north to U.S. markets, and bulk cash proceeds and guns headed south to Mexico to arm the Mexican cartels.

With smuggling by sea on the rise off the coast of southern California, the plan seeks to increase the detection and tracking of small vessels, including submarines -- which have been used by the cartels to run drugs in Pacific coastal waters off Colombia and Central America.

It also set out to increase capacity to detect clandestine tunnels under the border -- usually used to smuggle drugs -- 135 of which have been identified by law enforcement up to March of this year.

Part of the emphasis also focuses on reducing U.S. demand for drugs through education, community development and providing rehabilitation for drug users.

As a metric of the administration's success, Napolitano said gun, drug and bulk cash seizures had increased along the southwest border in the past two years, while the number of illegal immigrants was down "substantially."

"The numbers that need to go up are going up, the numbers that need to go down are really going down, and the president is committed to sustaining that effort," she added.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Greg McCune)

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Comments (2)
TiredOfTaxes wrote:
It’s likely they’ll start by pumping tons of illegal drugs to the
Cartels. Looks like they have the guns part covered already..

Jul 07, 2011 7:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
jway wrote:
On June 17, 1971, President Nixon told Congress that “if we cannot destroy the drug menace in America, then it will surely destroy us.” After forty years of trying to destroy “the drug menace in America” we still *haven’t* been able to destroy it and it still *hasn’t* destroyed us. Four decades is long enough to realize that on this important issue, President Nixon was wrong! All actions taken as a result of his invalid and paranoid assumptions (e.g. the federal marijuana prohibition) should be ended immediately!

It makes no sense for taxpayers to fund the federal marijuana prohibition when it *doesn’t* prevent people from using marijuana and it *does* make criminals incredibly wealthy and incite the Mexican drug cartels to murder thousands of people every year.

We need legal adult marijuana sales in supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies for exactly the same reason that we need legal alcohol and tobacco sales – to keep unscrupulous black-market criminals out of our neighborhoods and away from our children. Marijuana must be made legal to sell to adults everywhere that alcohol and tobacco are sold.

“There’s something extraordinarily perverse when we’re so concerned about preventing addicts from having access to drugs that we destroy the lives of many times more people, either through untreated pain or other drug war damage”.

Jul 08, 2011 11:49am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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