Contrary to public perception, most drug smugglers caught at the border are not Mexicans or undocumented immigrants but rather U.S. citizens. According to a report based on statistics received through Freedom of Information Act requests, three out of four people found with drugs at the border—or four out of five drug busts—involve U.S. citizens.
The statistics are incomplete, and nearly half of the 81,261 seizures don’t have suspect information, probably because the data comes from abandoned drug loads. The number of U.S. citizens caught with drugs has increased every year since 2005, with the exception of 2011.
U.S. citizens were more often caught with large amounts of drugs, and were involved in drug trafficking in 60 percent of the cases. When a marijuana bust involved a haul of 1,000 pounds or more, a U.S. citizen was involved more than two-thirds of the time. Andrew Becker, one of the writers of the report, says, “The people the Border Patrol catches paints a different picture than what the Border Patrol says in its press releases.”
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