On Tuesday, U.S. authorities discovered a sophisticated drug tunnel running between San Diego and Tijuana. The tunnel stretched 400 yards and demonstrated sophisticated engineering. In addition to the tunnel, seventeen tons of marijuana was seized on the American side and another seven tons on the Mexican side. This is not the first drug tunnel discovered between the two nations, and it certainly will not be the last. The discovery of yet another tunnel calls into question United States as well as Mexican policy in trying to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.
Fighting the war on drugs is difficult because the reward for the smugglers is so high. Many Mexicans face a difficult economic situation, and some see drug smuggling as a means to provide for their family. With Mexican law enforcement being as corrupt and ineffective as it is, the risk of getting caught is relatively low. While in the United States the risk of getting caught may be greater, to many the large amounts of money one can make tend to mitigate these risks. If seventeen tons of marijuana were found in relation to this raid, who knows how much was smuggled into the U.S. before authorities were alerted to the tunnel’s existence. The copious sums of money generated by the drug smuggling business ensure its existence.
The war on drugs will continue to pose new difficulties. Despite this, drug laws are the law of the land, and until they no longer are an effort must be made to enforce them. Certainly, greater efforts need to be made by Mexico to end corruption in law enforcement. If both the United States and Mexico can operate on equal terms in fighting the drug war, it will lead to more large seizures and serve to put a dent in the drug trade. Innovation is also key. Law enforcement needs to constantly be developing new ways to interdict drug smugglers. If there is any stagnation, drug smugglers will remain one step ahead of law enforcement. Since the beginning of the war on drugs, untold sums have been spent and no end is in sight. In light of this, how should the United States spend its resources in fighting the war on drugs?
For more information on the drug tunnel see: