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Drug Smugglers Use Magnets Across Mexican Border

Updated on January 25, 2015

Mexican drug cartels smuggling their drugs into the USA is a constant battle between good and bad. Much like Star Wars, the bad guys continue to innovate to circumvent detection of the US Border Patrol. They try mile long tunnels costing hundreds of thousands and similar to those in the "Great Escape" movie; they have tried using two man submarines to smuggle tons of cocaine; they have tried balloons and human mules who insert the product into their anus. They have attempted to use trucks to jump over the border fence using a ramp and so on.

Now, it is magnets and the "trusted traveler" status that the Border Patrol has for pre-screened cars that frequently go back and forth. The program uses pre-screening and electronic screening to facilitate the crossing the border. Instead of taking hours, it can take much less because those in the program receive less scrutiny and inspection. This program is popular among the 12.6 million cars that cross the Tijuana border each year. Those in it have already undergone extensive background checks. Instead of waiting up to two hours, the "trusted traveler" whizzes by in 15-20 minutes. Those in the program are identified by a sicker.

The sticker is the Achilles Heel because drug smuggles also see the sticker on the windshield. Once spotted, the smugglers wait to see if the car is parked for a time. Many Americans just visit the border town areas and park for hours in lots and then walk, much like a shopping mall. Once the car is targeted, while the owners are gone, the smuggles easily and quickly attach long magnetized cylinders to the car chassis wherever they can. The cylinders can carry 13 lbs. of cocaine or heroin. Once the car is returns to the USA, the smugglers simply track the car with GPS and wait for a time to quickly retrieve the cargo.

This was first discovered by the Border Patrol in 2013. Since then, they have contacted all the "trusted travelers" and have instructed them to remove the sticker in the window and have not issued new stickers. Many of them still have not removed them making them targets of drug smugglers.


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