March 10th, 2009 3:54 PM Eastern
Border Busts Surge
by Adam Housley

As the sun rises over Tijuana, I start to think about all the changes we’ve seen along this border in the last seven years assigned to cover stories here. Once we didn’t think twice about heading just a few feet to our south to cover immigration issues, but now, that’s almost out of the question because of the ongoing and brutal drug war. Just two days ago, two more headless bodies were dumped in Tijuana and another bunch of police were arrested for corruption. President Calderon’s office continues to tell me that they’re doing everything they can and by most accounts here on the border, they are making some daring maneuvers. However, there is still widespread dishonesty and inconsistency within law enforcement south of our border, which makes the job for our border agents that’s much more difficult and imperative. As we report on the estimated 39 billion in drug money being sent south due to drug usage here (compared with an estimated 24 billion in remittances), Customs and Border Protection passes along this release and photos:

Goto link to see photos

SAN DIEGO – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at San Diego area ports of entry have noticed a disturbing new trend in the past several months involving an upswing in the use of boys and young adult males to smuggle narcotics taped to their bodies as they enter the U.S. on foot.

Since late August 2008, when CBP officers first noted the upswing, until the end of last month CBP officers at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa passenger ports apprehended 157 teen and adult pedestrians entering the United States from Mexico carrying a total of 285 pounds of marijuana, 1.2 pounds of heroin, 4.7 pounds of cocaine and over nine pounds of methamphetamines concealed under their clothing.

The majority of the border crossers were young U.S. citizens while the rest were Mexican males. They ranged in age from 15 to 56, with the majority being in their teens or early 20’s. Almost 75 percent of the males were under 29 years of age and 25 percent were under age 18. Most of the males caught smuggling narcotics were wearing loose, multiple layers of clothing to hide the bulging packages taped to their bodies.

Although strapping narcotics to a traveler’s torso is not a new smuggling technique, apprehensions since last August have burgeoned 811 percent at San Ysidro and 316 percent at Otay Mesa compared to the same period the previous year when officers discovered a total of 23 pedestrians entering local ports with concealed narcotics. The trend has continued into this month with the apprehension on March 2 of three 14-year old U.S. citizen boys caught smuggling a total of over 11 pounds of marijuana as they entered the San Ysidro port pedestrian facility from Mexico. ... sts-surge/