According to NPR News, over 5 million trucks cross the Mexico and United States’ border every year. These drivers haul necessary supplies, technology, food, and a whole array of other goods Americans need. But along with drivers transporting these desireables, more nefarious individuals are using the trucks to take part in dishonest gain. The fact that thousands of pounds of drugs are confiscated from trucks every year is an issue companies and drivers have to be keenly aware of in this global economy.
Drug smugglers are getting more and more clever as the technology to thwart them advances. A border officer in Otay Mesa (near San Diego) reports finding drugs in shipments of jalapenos, limes, and the harder to detect, dish detergent. To keep up with the increasing innovativeness of drug smugglers, truck companies near the border have had to stay on their toes to fight these illicit activities. One company near the border spares no expense in making sure it’s drivers are following the laws to a T. Every truck in their fleet, around 150, has GPS devices and is closely monitored. The company has even gone so far as to send out private investigators to make sure the drivers weren’t picking up (or being forced to pick up) extra loads.
If you find yourself hauling cargo across the border, make sure to keep an eye on your rig at all times. Unfortunately, many criminals will sneak drugs on the truck while the driver is inside a rest stop.
At the border
As trucks get to border control, there are even more checks for contraband. Drug dogs are on patrol, driver manifests are checked, and some drivers may go through brief interviews to detect shady behavior. A few elect ones get sent to a large X-ray machine where their rigs go through a thorough inspection. About 2,000 trucks cross the Otay Mesa border daily, so patrol agents have their hands full. Most of the illegal trade in this area is heading to California. The Golden State is in a prime position for drug movers to get their assets to the rest of the nation.
Otay Mesa isn’t the only location where trucks hauling drugs is a major issue. The World Trade Bridge goes between Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. This bridge transports around 5,000 trucks a day and with them, a remarkably high volume of illegal drugs. On this particular border, one popular method of hiding drugs seems to be in tile and furniture shipments. Only 1/5th of the passing truckers are inspected, but the patrol agents still managed to confiscate 96 tons of marijuana in the year 2010 alone.
It’s not worth it
Just ask Alanis-Alanis, a truck driver arrested for trying to cross the border with 96 kilos of cannabis in his rig. After refusing to stop for the patrol, he pummeled through an intersection and into a construction zone. He hopped out of his truck and tried to run from the patrol agents. They captured him, and his reward for all his hard work is 11 years in the pen.
On your next cross-country haul, keep your eyes open for smugglers looking for a ride, and don’t be tempted by the lure of easy money. You don’t want to pay the price.
Tags: Border Crossing