Here's an interesting side benefit to the changes following the September terrorist attacks on our nation - drug smuggling arrests have taken a dramatic increase. It seems that our efforts to search vehicles for bombs or other terrorists' devices have reaped a bonanza of drug smugglers headed into our borders.
Before the Sept. 11 attacks, most vehicles were simply waved through border checkpoints. Because of our new high level of alert, virtually all cars are stopped for a visual inspection which normally includes an inspection of the trunk and engine compartment. And the result is a dramatic increase in drug arrests.
Suffice it to say, border police make massive arrests for drug smuggling under just normal circumstances. The increased alertness and improved inspection process have put those numbers through the roof. It's terrible that it took an event such as the Twin Towers assault to teach our nation what added vigilance can do in terms of drug trafficking.
Smugglers too know of this added inspection so they are trying all methods to gain entry. Police say smugglers are picking the busiest checkpoints with the most traffic in hopes of avoiding the hands-on inspections. Or some on our southern borders are resorting to unconventional means of entry such as riding horses across remote stretches of the border. But those efforts are being monitored as well.
In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, there's very few positive signs that resulted from that tragic day. Perhaps this improvement in drug interdiction is one of the few by-products. It has taught us a lesson on how to make a dent in the drug traffic. That's a tough way to learn a lesson however. A very tough way.
Terrorist worries impacting drug war