NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Temporary Drop In Drug Smuggling

September 28, 2001

Heightened security along the U.S.-Mexico border in the past several weeks has led to a substantial decline in illegal drug shipments, U.S. Customs Service officials say. The decrease, however, may only be temporary.

  • From September 11-23, some 8,707 pounds of drugs were seized in 123 incidents along the entire border from Brownsville, Texas, to San Diego.
  • That compares to 44,160 pounds seized in the same period last year in 227 incidents.
  • The Immigration and Naturalization Service also reported fewer illegal immigrants trying to cross into the U.S. following September 11.
  • Within hours of the terrorist attacks, customs and immigration inspectors were stopping and searching as many vehicles as possible and questioning every pedestrian entering the U.S. from Mexico.

Customs officials think the decline may only be temporary, and in fact in the past few days there has been an increase in some seizures in some areas.

They theorize that supplies of drugs are too plentiful for those in the drug trade to reduce shipments permanently. Also, the temporary decline has not been sufficient to change the overall supply and prices of drugs in the U.S.

Source: Fox Butterfield, "Officials Report Drop in Drug Smuggling," New York Times, September 28, 2001.


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