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Salton Sea - Border Patrols War on Drugs


Last updated 7/30/2015 at 1:21pm

Marijuana and cocaine, used to be the smugglers drug of choice, however over the years, Border Patrol agents have noticed a change in habits and now find themselves seizing an increase in heroin and methamphetamine. The Border Patrol checkpoint on the 86 Expressway Highway near Salton City, is the final checkpoint before Interstate 10 Freeway and the doorway to major cities all over the U.S.

The El Centro Sector of the Border Patrol was established more than 90 years ago, and is responsible for an International border which spans from the Jacumba Mountains to the Imperial Sand Dunes. With the checkpoints in Coachella Valley on highways 86 and 111 near the Salton Sea proving to be among the busiest in the state, more than 17,000 cars and 13,000 pedestrians can pass through the ports of entry and Highway 86 checkpoints every day.

Whilst the criminal gangs attempt to conceive ever more elaborate plans to deceive the law, the use of drug-sniffing dogs and the vast knowledge of the Border agents, is still proving a formidable force against the war on smuggling.

According to FBI's Heroin Signature Program, Mexico has become the top foreign supplier of methamphetamine used inside the U.S. since 2007 with almost 40 percent of the samples they classified nationally in 2012 being of Mexican origin.

Crackdowns on the trade in cocaine have resulted in a 37 percent drop within the El Centro Sector yet despite the drop in cocaine sales, methamphetamine and heroin have risen with a local increase of 1,022 and 12,878 percent, respectively, in the past 10 years.

"This is a major trafficking route," spokesman for the El Centro Sector Border Patrol Guillermo Esparza said. "This checkpoint is considered the last line of defense."

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