Friday, September 22, 2006

Border enforcement sees more corruption

This is becoming repetitive: Another Border Patrol agent has been arrested for waiving through trucks packed with marijuana and cocaine at an El Paso checkpoint, reports the El Paso Times ("Feds: Agent took money, let drugs pass checkpoint," Sept. 20).
Arturo Arzate Jr., 47, was arrested Friday as part of an on-going multi-agency investigation that included undercover agents, said Special Agent Andrea Simmons, a spokeswoman for the FBI in El Paso.

Border Patrol spokesman Doug Mosier said Arzate has been with the agency since 1985 and has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case. ...

According to a federal criminal complaint, Arzate was allegedly paid $50 per kilo of marijuana and $1,000 per kilo of cocaine he allowed to pass through the checkpoint between El Paso and Carlsbad. The document alleges Arzate met with smugglers to plan when he could allow contraband to pass.

Paying the guy on a per-weight basis - that's ballsy. Allegedly this fellow wasn't just taking bribes, he'd become part of the racket, actually helping plan the drug distribution routes and times and taking a percentage cut.

This case points out the fallacy of the notion that heightened enforcement can stop the flow of drugs across the border. I don't care how many Border Patrol agents you hire, it only takes one corrupt cop at any given checkpoint to wave through thousands of pounds of dope per day. At $1,000 per kilo of coke, some border guard will inevitably take the bait, particularly those facing the dreaded choice: Plata o plomo.

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