Cocaine, Meth Busts by Border Patrol Hit 5-Year High in 2019

Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents seized nearly $35K in cocaine at the Interstate 35 immigration checkpoint. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Laredo Sector)
File Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Laredo Sector

Border Patrol agents hit a five-year high in the amount of cocaine and methamphetamine seized. The records come despite agents facing inundating numbers of Central American migrants at historic rates.

With one month to go in the fiscal year, Border Patrol agents seized 85,953 pounds of cocaine and 61,989 pounds of methamphetamine, according to the August CBP Enforcement Statistics Report recently released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

During the migrant crisis, Border Patrol officials in several sectors closed interior checkpoints and moved agents from front-line duties to the care, transportation, feeding, and processing of nearly a half-million migrant families. In the El Paso Sector, where immigration checkpoints were closed during the summer, New Mexico officials called the closures a “green light” for cartels, Breitbart Texas reported at the time. Las Cruces Police Chief Patrick Gallagher blamed a rise in violent crime on the closed checkpoints. Shortly after they re-opened, Border Patrol agents began reporting more seizures.

The seizure of cocaine by Border Patrol agents during the first 11 months of FY2019 nearly doubled the previous year’s total. Methamphetamine when up by nearly 20 percent.

While not at record levels, the seizure of heroin also increased from 568 pounds in all of FY2018 to 661 in FY2019. The high point for the past five years occurred in FY2017 when agents seized 953 pounds.

Cocaine seizures (pounds):

  • FY 2019 YTD — 11,362
  • FY 2018 — 6,550
  • FY 2017 — 9,346
  • FY 2016 — 5,473
  • FY 2015 — 11,220
  • FY 2014 — 4,554

Methamphetamine seizures (pounds):

  • FY 2019 YTD — 13,441
  • FY 2018 — 11,314
  • FY 2017 — 10,328
  • FY 2016 — 8,224
  • FY 2015 — 6,443
  • FY 2014 — 3,930

The seizure of marijuana fell by almost 50 percent during FY2019. Fentanyl also fell from 388 pounds in FY2018 to 210 pounds this year.

Following the re-opening of interior checkpoints in the El Paso Sector, Interim Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez reported increases in drug seizures and the apprehension of criminal aliens, including previously deported child sex offenders, Breitbart Texas reported.

“These incidents demonstrate how effective our skilled U.S. Border Patrol agents are when focused on the mission of National Security,” the El Paso Sector chief said in a written statement. “With this temporary reduction of migration flow at the border, our Agents are adding consequences to those involved in criminal activity, resulting in increased interdictions of people being smuggled, detention of criminals, and seizure of narcotics.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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