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Four of Five Border Patrol Drug Busts Involve US Citizens, Records Show

The public’s view of a typical Mexican drug smuggler might not include U.S. Naval Academy grad Todd Britton-Harr, who was caught at a Border Patrol checkpoint in south Texas in December 2010 hauling a trailer with 1,100 pounds of marijuana.

Nor would someone like Laura Lynn Farris leap to mind. Border Patrol agents stopped the 52-year-old woman at a border checkpoint 15 miles south of the west Texas town of Alpine in February 2011 with 162 pounds of marijuana hidden under dirty blankets in laundry baskets.

There’s no argument that Mexico-based crime organizations dominate drug smuggling into the United States. But the public message that the Border Patrol has trumpeted for much of the last decade, mainly through press releases about its seizures, has emphasized Mexican drug couriers, or mules, as those largely responsible for transporting drugs.

It turns out that the Border Patrol catches more American citizens with drugs than it does Mexican couriers, according to an analysis of records obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Three out of four people found with drugs by the border agency are U.S. citizens, the data show. Looked at another way, when the immigration status is known, 4 out of 5 busts – which may include multiple people – involve a U.S. citizen.

Read more at the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Photo: Mugshots of people arrested in remote Hudspeth County, Texas, where the Big Bend Sector’s Sierra Blanca checkpoint sits. Credit: Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office

Four of Five Border Patrol Drug Busts Involve US Citizens, Records Show

The public’s view of a typical Mexican drug smuggler might not include U.S. Naval Academy grad Todd Britton-Harr, who was caught at a Border Patrol checkpoint in south Texas in December 2010 hauling a trailer with 1,100 pounds of marijuana.

Nor would someone like Laura Lynn Farris leap to mind. Border Patrol agents stopped the 52-year-old woman at a border checkpoint 15 miles south of the west Texas town of Alpine in February 2011 with 162 pounds of marijuana hidden under dirty blankets in laundry baskets.

There’s no argument that Mexico-based crime organizations dominate drug smuggling into the United States. But the public message that the Border Patrol has trumpeted for much of the last decade, mainly through press releases about its seizures, has emphasized Mexican drug couriers, or mules, as those largely responsible for transporting drugs.

It turns out that the Border Patrol catches more American citizens with drugs than it does Mexican couriers, according to an analysis of records obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Three out of four people found with drugs by the border agency are U.S. citizens, the data show. Looked at another way, when the immigration status is known, 4 out of 5 busts – which may include multiple people – involve a U.S. citizen.

Read more at the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Photo: Mugshots of people arrested in remote Hudspeth County, Texas, where the Big Bend Sector’s Sierra Blanca checkpoint sits. Credit: Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office