Posted on November 18, 2004

Marijuana Season Means Bigger Threat to Motorists

J.D. Wallace, KOLD News 13 (Tucson), Nov. 17

From a hidden compartment in what looks like a water truck, to a stuffed SUV, the signs are clear that marijuana season is in full swing.

“(We are getting) a big spike in drug seizures, and Sonora Mexico is a major drug growing area for marijuana,” said Tucson sector Border Patrol agent Andy Adame.

As the Border Patrol focuses on illegal immigration, agents are also likely to find plenty of marijuana from November to March. Many times the drug is carried by the illegal immigrants agents constantly try to catch.

“Well the vast majority of the marijuana we come across, it’s walked across, and those are normally called the mules, and those are usually undocumented aliens,” Adame said.

After the illegal immigrants, or mules, carry the marijuana across the border, it’s then driven to major cities, not only fueling the drug trade, but putting unsuspecting motorists at risk.

“It’s a little more dangerous on the roadway just in the fact that we have the alien smugglers that are out there year round, and now we have an extra element with the drug smuggler who’s going to be just as reckless out there on the roadway,” Adame said.

And the numbers are already up. In October and early November 2003, Tucson sector Border Patrol agents seized 46,000 pounds of pot. That same time this year, they seized 57,000 pounds. There are also more agents, up from 1800 last year to 2100 now.

“A lot of that has to do with, we’ve got more agents on the border than this time last year. We’ve got more technology, and more resources available to us. So we should see a record year this year,” Adame said.

If you see what looks like a commercial or public service vehicle that doesn’t quite look right, perhaps out of place or suspicious, you can always call your tip into 88-CRIME and stay anonymous.