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Entries in Border (5)

Thursday
Mar212013

Report: Deaths Increasing at US-Mexico Border

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The number of immigrants who died while attempting to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border saw a large increase in 2012, even though there seem to be far fewer people attempting the crossing.

According to a report released by the National Foundation for American Policy, immigrant deaths at the border rose by 27 percent in 2012. Despite the fact that the border patrol has nearly twice as many agents as it did 15 years ago, the number of deaths in crossing has more than doubled.

The 477 immigrants who died trying to cross the border in 2012 is the second highest annual total, behind only 2005.

The border patrol captured over 350,000 undocumented immigrants in 2012, as compared to over 1.5 million in 1999. With a dramatic decrease in the number of immigrants attempting the journey, it is staggering that such a large number of them are dying.

The NFAP says that these numbers suggest that the border is getting more dangerous for immigrants. Testimonies from organizations that work along the border seem to confirm this.

Geoff Boyce, a spokesman for an Arizona nonprofit called No More Deaths, told USA Today that immigrants are now crossing the border in more remote areas of the desert comprised of 900 square miles with just two paved roads.

He said the crossing takes three to four days, and is made in temperatures as high as 110 degrees, in the summer, and below freezing in winter time.

"Even the healthiest person is going to have a hard time surviving in those kinds of conditions," Boyce told USA Today.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct192011

Obama: 'Fast and Furious' Blunderers 'Will Be Held Accountable'

ABC News(JAMESTOWN, N.C.) -- As the Justice Department investigates how U.S. guns were allowed to flow illicitly into Mexico under the watchful eyes of federal agents, President Obama said Tuesday in an exclusive interview with ABC News that “people who have screwed up will be held accountable.”

“Our overarching goal consistently has been to say we’ve got a responsibility not only to stop drugs from flowing north, we’ve also got a responsibility to make sure we are not helping to either arm or finance these drug cartels in Mexico,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper.

“It’s very upsetting to me to think that somebody showed such bad judgment that they would allow something like that to happen,” he said.  “And we will find out who and what happened in this situation and make sure it gets corrected.”

Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have come under scrutiny by some Congressional Republicans who allege high-ranking administration officials were aware of the program -- known as “Fast and Furious” -- and its flaws, but did not intervene.

Of the thousands of guns involved in the operation, several reportedly have ties to violent crimes in Mexico and along the U.S. border, including the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Earlier this month, Obama said he has “complete confidence” in Holder to oversee a Justice Department investigation into the gun-running operation, but the Attorney General has been accused of stonewalling -- and even perjuring himself about what he knew and when he knew it -- by those delving into the operation.

“I have complete confidence in him," Obama said of Holder at a news conference on Oct. 6, "and I’ve got complete confidence in the process to figure out who, in fact, was responsible for that decision and how it got made."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun292011

Mexican Drug Cartels Trying to Expand Marijuana Shipments to US

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- An investigation by ABC's Nightline has discovered that Mexican cartels have recently been trying to expand marijuana shipments into the United States by the tens of thousands.

Nightline was granted exclusive and unprecedented access to U.S. DEA agents and Customs and Border Protection officers who interdict, store and destroy tons of marijuana.  The investigation takes a look at the scale and reach of the Mexican cartels who are fueled by 25.8 million American marijuana users.

Government investigators estimate that the cartels have boosted their production by a whopping 59 percent since 2003, leading them to conclude that the Mexican organizations "represent the single greatest drug trafficking threat to the United States," an official said.  Officials estimate that the drug cartels' profits are between $18 and $39 billion annually.

According to Mexican and U.S. officials (who requested that their names and ranks not be used), marijuana smuggling has contributed to 35,000 deaths along the border in the past five years.

These discoveries come on the heels of a bill being introduced in the House by Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) to remove the federal roadblock to state marijuana reform.

Nightline was present in the midst of a two-week stretch of U.S. officials' destroying more than $100 million worth of marijuana at two top-secret facilities in an undisclosed location in the American Southwest.

"Marijuana is the number one cash crop for the cartels in Mexico," said assistant special DEA agent Mel Rodriguez.  "The moneys, the proceeds from the sale of the marijuana ultimately go to finance other illegal activities for the cartel, such as [the] purchase of weapons and additional resources."

"Additional resources" include funding armies of criminals who have fought the U.S. and Mexican governments.

U.S. officials use a variety of tools to find contraband, including an army of agents, Border Patrol's drug-sniffing dogs, mobile X-ray machines, even special cameras to slide down gas tanks to hunt for drugs.

Drug lords use every tactic to transport drugs, cash and guns: submarines, tunnels, ultra-light planes.  They also still use men on foot -- so-called "mules."

After U.S. agents seize the drugs, they are moved into a secret facility -- one of the most restricted government rooms in the nation that, until now, no television journalist had ever been allowed in before.   ABC's Nightline crew had to sign papers just to walk from room to room, and no employee working there could be identified in our report.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Drug Smugglers Use Catapult to Launch Bales of Pot Across Border 

Photo Courtesy - John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Grainy surveillance video shows drug smugglers putting a new twist on their crime by using a catapult to launch small bales of marijuana across the Arizona-Mexico border

The video was taken the night of Jan. 21 by National Guard troops monitoring a series of surveillance cameras near Naco, Ariz., officials from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

The black-and-white video shows at least four men near an SUV loading a three yard catapult and flinging the pot over the border fence.

Border Patrol agents contacted Mexican authorities to thwart the smugglers, officials said.

The men reportedly fled from the area to avoid apprehension, officials said.

Mexican police seized approximately 45 pounds of marijuana, the catapult and the SUV belonging to the smugglers. The catapult was found on a flatbed towed by the SUV.

Border Patrol officials said that none of their cameras detected anybody on the U.S. side of the border, but they believe people were expected to pick up the drugs at a later time.

The disovery of the catapult is one of several innovative ways that smugglers have devised to get their drugs across the border.

In November of last year, officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered an 1,800-foot underground tunnel linking a warehouse in Otey Mesa, Calif., with a similar sized building in Tijuana, Mexico. The discovery of the warehouses and tunnel netted officials 30 tons of marijuana worth $20 million.

DEA officials said the Mexican side of the tunnel was equipped with rails and lighting to send drug sleds toward the U.S. side of the tunnel, which DEA officials described as a crawl space.

DEA officials said they believe the tunnel had been completed recently and may have been in operation for about a month before it was discovered. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct232010

Plans Moving Forward to Scrap 'Virtual Fence' Along US-Mexico Border

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama Administration is moving forward with its plans to scrap the so-called virtual fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.  This after federal authorities spent nearly $1 billion on the project.  Officials have signalled a desire in recent months to end the project and a firm announcement is expected soon that it will not proceed.

The 53 miles of "fence" was to be a high-tech means of helping to secure the border with Mexico and involved state-of-the-art ground cameras and remote sensors to detect illegal entries.  It was proposed back in 2006, under the Bush Administration and was seen as a post-9/11 effort to keep illegal aliens out of the United States.  There are also hundreds of miles of actual pedestrian fencing. 

The project has been plagued by management and contractual problems and cost overruns, revealed in a General Accounting Office review.  Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said the government has an obligation to secure the borders but it must do so in the most cost-effective way possible.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

 







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