SAN DIEGO, CA (Fox 5) – U.S. Border Patrol agents in San Diego seized 26.2 pounds of meth earlier this week, authorities announced Thursday.
The drugs, valued at $60,260, were discovered Tuesday inside a vehicle’s gas tank at an Interstate 8 checkpoint.
San Diego agents have seized over 3,980 lbs of meth since Oct. 2018.
In March 2019, U.S. News and World Report reported:
Methamphetamine laboratory seizures have decreased across the United States to their lowest level in 15 years, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s 2018 National Drug Assessment report. Yet “methamphetamine remains prevalent and widely available, with most of the methamphetamine available in the United States being produced in Mexico and smuggled across the Southwest Border.” Meanwhile, meth seizures by U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations have grown substantially, from 14,131 pounds in fiscal 2012 to 56,373 in fiscal 2018.
Capt. Art Nakamura of the Portland Police Bureau’s Drugs & Vice division says his department has been hampered in its ability to counter the proliferation of meth by a nationwide decline in recruitment and retainment of law enforcement officers.
The city is “between 80 and 100 officers short,” he says, while department drug seizures have “gone up 63 percent in the last two years,” reaching 134 kilograms (about 295 pounds) of meth seized in 2018.
While Nakamura says the Portland police department does not have an issue with funding, he says the lack of personnel presents a particular challenge as area businesses can help Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations blend into the community.
“We have seen auto body shops, used car dealerships, restaurants, clothing stores, nurseries, while other organizations’ M.O. is to just transport bulk cash back to Mexico,” he says. “The M.O. always changes and we have to adapt to them.”
“They’re not what you envision of a drug dealer, so identifying and upending these DTOs is really difficult,” he says. “It takes a lot of time and a lot of resources that we don’t have right now.”