DEALogo DRCNet Response to the
Drug Enforcement Administration
Briefing Book

Southwest Border Project

DEA Statement Response
The Southwest Border with Mexico has long presented a challenge to United States law enforcement officers. Much of the 2,000-mile border is isolated and desolate, lending itself to the smuggling of drugs and illegal aliens.


It would be flatly impossible to cut off the flow of drugs across our border -- something that even the Attorney General of the United States freely admits.
Mexican drug traffickers take advantage of the border as they transport cocaine into the United States for the Colombian drug mafia. In fact, most of the cocaine that enters the United States comes through Mexico. The Southwest Border problem is even more significant because the Mexican organizations are polydrug traffickers; that is, they deal in heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine as well as cocaine.


That's because the DEA has made it highly profitable for these people to engage in drug trafficking.
To strengthen law enforcement's ability to deter drug smuggling along the border, and to target and attack specific Mexican organizations, the Southwest Border Project was adopted in the summer of 1994 as a joint DEA-FBI initiative. This enforcement program brings together the collective investigative and prosecutorial skills of the DEA, FBI, and Department of Justice, including U.S. Attorneys' Offices. It is the first interagency cooperative effort of its magnitude, and it promises to be a highly efficient and lucrative enforcement and prosecution program.


Despite this impressive array of force, there is no evidence that they will ever have a significant impact on the flow of drugs across the border.  By their own estimates, they only seize a small percentage, anyway.

It is significant to note that the DEA thinks this program will be "lucrative".  In order to be "lucrative", the DEA must seize money and other assets.  Money and other assets can only be seized from:

1)  drug dealers who have already made a significant amount of money in the drug trade (rather like closing the barn door after the cow has already left), or;

2) People who are not major drug dealers but happened to run afoul of a narcotics agent at the wrong time.  About eighty percent of all people from whom property is seized are never charged with any crime.

The Southwest Border Initiative targets identified Mexican trafficking organizations operating along the border by attacking their command and control infrastructures.


"Attacking the command and control infrastructure" is basically what they did when they arrested General Manuel Noriega in Panama.  As a result of arresting the top leader, they opened up the market for a host of new entrepeneurs and, as a result, cocaine shipments through Panama doubled after Noriega was captured.  There is every reason to believe that the DEA will ultimately provide the same service to the small time dealers near the border.



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