Unbeknown to most Americans, the U.S. border with Mexico moves south every weekend. Joining U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints just north of the border, units of the Mexican Army, Mexican federal police and members of the new Mexican National Guard man checkpoints on Mexican streets and highways doing what Americans do on the American side.
The border moves south every Friday afternoon, when a giant crush of traffic flows south from Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and the Inland Empire counties of San Bernardino and Riverside to Tijuana and coastal Baja California. Mexicans going home for a weekend and Americans looking for breaks from the hundred-miles-an-hour life of California.
Fifteen hundred miles of Mexican Baja California oceanfront are peppered with ocean front homes owned by Americans who delight in buying beach homes and condominiums for strong dollars at hugely reasonable prices unheard of in California. The border moves north on Sunday afternoons and Monday mornings when those thousands return to the United States.
Several kilometers south of the border, all drivers and cars must make their way north through a Mexican Army checkpoint at a toll plaza of the scenic coast-hugging Mexican Federal Highway 1.
In standard desert camouflage uniforms and American-style kevlar helmets, each soldier carries a new Mexican FX automatic rifle; the soldiers are covered by a 7.62 millimeter automatic weapon – machine gun – mounted on a Humvee aimed by a soldier to protect the individual soldiers who eye-ball each car and driver they stop.
U.S. Supreme Court decisions of 40-50 years ago allow for U.S. federal agents to otherwise violate the Constitution up to 100 miles from the border. All they need is a “suspicion” that a federal law is being violated.
The Constitution’s Fourth Amendment requiring “probable cause” and a “warrant” for arrest does not apply at our borders or for a hundred miles from the border. Needless to say, arrests of people who look Hispanic are heavily publicized if drugs are involved. Not well publicized is the fact that seldom is a major arrest made because sleuthing Border Patrol agents are good at their jobs.
When a major arrest is made at checkpoints on Interstates 8, 5 and 15, it’s usually because Mexican cartel people call in tips to the Patrol about specific cars, people and trucks. The Mexican snitches alert agents that drugs or people are being smuggled — by Americans.
Why? Because they are handsomely rewarded for doing so. Ten percent of the estimated street value is routinely paid for the tips that result in busts. Meanwhile, millions of dollars of deadly fentanyl is crossing all borders into the United States by U.S. mail. Most is manufactured in China.
Why isn’t more being done by the federal government to stop the massive movement of illicit and deadly drugs into the U.S.? Law enforcement knows Mexicans transit most American-used heroin through the country into the U.S. It also has taken over the manufacture of methamphetamines. Nonetheless, U.S. officers appear helpless.
Criminal activities and murder rates in Tijuana are driving responsible Mexicans crazy. Nothing seems to work in abating spiraling murder rates in Tijuana. As noted, Mexican soldiers and Mexican federal police are everywhere.
Positive aspects: Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans cross into and out of Mexico every day, very few Americans have been killed in the Mexican murder wave; and, most of those murdered are drug-involved people, bad people who, as American Wild West legal commentators used to say, “needed killing.”
Illicit drug use by Americans is the core of the problem. The Chinese wouldn’t manufacture deadly narcotics like fentanyl if Americans didn’t buy and use them. Mexican drug cartels wouldn’t exist if they didn’t have a market north of the Rio Grande. South Americans wouldn’t manufacture massive amounts of cocaine from coca leaves if chic Americans didn’t buy powdered cocaine for snorting.
Afghan warlords wouldn't be filthy rich if Americans didn’t buy the heroin that starts as poppies throughout Afghanistan in plain sight. The same is true of Arab terrorists who control Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and its opium/heroin production.
Finally, Mexican producers of methamphetamines couldn’t produce an ounce of “speed” if they didn’t have millions of barrels of chemicals legally produced in Europe, China or Houston to use in producing “speed.”
Mexican soldiers and U.S. Border Patrol agents working in concert can’t seem to make progress in dealing with the scourge. By the time Mexican soldiers and U.S. border people get involved — it is too late.
Clean-up and prevention lie with families and parents.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is the author of “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade” and “White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (Wasps) & Mexicans.” He is a former writer for the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.