(Brendan Clarey, Liberty Headlines) Illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine continue to enter the United States from Mexico, even under President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
According to a press release from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection have seized more illegal drugs entering the country this year across a 400-mile stretch of the Mexico-Texas border.
“The South Texas Corridor (STC) has seen a 177 percent increase in heroin and 129 percent increase in cocaine seized by agents and officers in the field,” the release said. “The increase in illicit drug activity comes at a time when apprehensions have declined in recent months.”
Apparently the smugglers are getting better at hiding the drugs, DHS said.
“Smugglers have been caught with drugs hidden in vehicle gas tanks, manufactured compartments, propane tanks, shipments of fruit and vegetables, stuffed in personal belongings, bags of candy, and even transported methamphetamine in liquid form inside milk and juice cartons,” said the press release.
This increase in illegal drug trafficking comes after President Donald Trump promised to build a wall and crackdown on illegal immigration. The BBC reports that the illegal border crossings into the united States from Mexico fell to fewer than 17,000 arrests in March, which is the lowest the arrest rate has been since 2000.
However, lower arrest numbers does not necessarily mean less drugs are crossing the border.
“The alignment of policy and strategy has led to significant gains in reducing illicit cross border activity in South Texas, we must stay vigilant,” said Manuel Padilla, Jr., CBP’s Joint Task Force-West South Texas Corridor Commander. “Low apprehension numbers do not equate to a quiet border. Criminal organizations will continue to smuggle their contraband and threaten border security.”
According to Mexico News Daily, the increased security on the border has led to smugglers increasing their prices to take illegal immigrants across.
“The tariffs charged by smugglers, known as coyotes or polleros, to get migrants across the border through the mountains have increased close to 130 percent, reports the newspaper Reforma,” said the website that curates news from that country. “Last November the fee was of US $3,500 but by January smugglers were charging up to $8,000, under the argument that new policies in the U.S. made the illegal crossing riskier.”
And while the number of people crossing the border might be down, the arrests of illegal immigrants in the country has increased under the Trump administration according to a release by Homeland Security’s agency U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency, ICE arrested 41,318 people suspected of illegal immigration. Last year during the same time, the agency arrested 30,028 people for the same thing. The number of arrests increased by 11,290 from 2016 to 2017, and the rate of arrests reached near 40 percent, according to the press release.
“These statistics reflect President Trump’s commitment to enforce our immigration laws fairly and across the board,” said ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan. “ICE agents and officers have been given clear direction to focus on threats to public safety and national security, which has resulted in a substantial increase in the arrest of convicted criminal aliens.”
According to the release, almost 75 percent of those arrested for illegal immigration during Trump’s first 100 days were those convicted of violent crimes such as rape, kidnapping, assault, and homicide, which accounting for 2,700 of the convictions.