By | 2018-08-25
Drug Traffickers Use Illegal Immigrants as Baits in Rio Grande Valley

Time and again, the Trump administration has underlined drug trafficking and illegal immigrants as the biggest issues faced by the United States. Worsened by the smuggled illegal drugs, the ever-growing opioid epidemic corroborates the assertion to a great extent. The agencies involved in checking drug trafficking, such as the U.S. Border Patrol, have been able to establish the role of illegal immigrants in the crime. In the wake of intensified patrolling in border areas, smugglers keep looking for ingenious ways to prevent drug detection – while some hide their haul in food, others use naive illegal immigrants. The drug trafficking routes through Rio Grande Valley are known for using human smuggling as a cover for drug trade. Described as one of the most dangerous and inhospitable borderline areas in America, the Rio Grande Valley in Texas stretches from Rio Grande City in the west to Brownsville in the east. Around 3,000 Border Patrol agents guard the stretch on a routine basis. Apart from the state-of-the-art surveillance systems, they use AStar helicopters to keep a watch on the area. Sometimes, the patrolling agents just ride horseback while pursuing the traffickers. Despite the strict vigilance and tough terrain, small rafts loaded with illegal immigrants from Mexico try to sneak into the U.S. territory. They are aided by a group of human smugglers, who are known as “coyotes.” Known for their ruthlessness, the coyotes often leave clueless immigrants to perish on the border when discovered by the patrol. Nothing can get in the way of their objective of trafficking drugs into the U.S. Their modus operandi is as simple as “bait and switch.” First, they lure illegal immigrants under the pretext of giving them a passage into America. The traffickers then use these illegal immigrants as a bait to drive the attention of the border patrol away from the drugs. While the police officers are busy cross-checking them, the coyotes use the opportunity to smuggle their drugs. The recent discovery of a cache of drugs near the seven abandoned illegal immigrants gives more credence to the above-mentioned cross-border illegal drug trafficking. The agents discovered marijuana worth $160,000 near these immigrants dumped by the traffickers in cold. Last year, more than 130 tons of marijuana were seized, which is roughly 30 percent of the marijuana hauled nationally. Common drugs in Texas Texas has been one of the front-runners in the war against drugs. Though it is not the worst hit, the bordering state has suffered a great deal of anguish because of the current drug crisis and hence the urgency to curb the menace. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose claimed 2,831 lives in 2016 with the mortality rate of 10.1. Some commonly abused drugs in the state include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription opioids. Because of its proximity to Mexico, it is easier to access these drugs in Texas, than many other states. In 2015, Texas had passed the Compassionate Use Act to legalize the use of marijuana – a Schedule I drug – for medical purpose. Recently, Texas was in the news when doctors prescribed CBD oil procured from cannabis to a girl suffering from epilepsy. However, critics panned the move and said it could be counterproductive. Drugs are more than a social evil Drug abuse – be it of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, or something else – is more than a mere social evil. It causes acrimony among loved ones and needless grief. In the fight against the menace of drugs, traffickers and drug cartels have emerged as the main challenges. They are responsible for the youth going astray. Given the considerable role of drug traffickers in the growing problem of heroin and opioid epidemic in America, any activity that raises suspicions should be immediately reported to the authorities.