April 22, 2010 in Nation/World

Northern border targeted

Carolyn Thompson Associated Press
 

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer on Wednesday said Congress should force the White House to create an anti-drug-smuggling strategy for the northern border, similar to one in place for the southern border.

The New York Democrat cited statistics showing large increases in cocaine, heroin and marijuana seizures along the U.S.-Canadian border since 2007. Most of the club drug Ecstasy smuggled into the United States crosses the northern border.

“Even in the face of increased drug smuggling, the administration lacks a comprehensive strategy to fight this scourge,” said Schumer, who said he will seek support for a bill from colleagues in other border states.

Northern border agents who seized a single kilogram of heroin and cocaine in 2007 seized 18 kilograms of cocaine and 28 kilograms of heroin in 2009, U.S. Justice Department statistics show. There were 3,423 kilograms of marijuana confiscated last year, compared with 2,792 kilograms two years earlier.

While those numbers are dwarfed by seizures from the southern border, the reverse is true for Ecstasy seizures. Since 2005, agents have seized eight times the club drug at the northern border than at the southern border, taking 668 pounds from smugglers in 2009, 1,358 pounds in 2008 and 529 pounds in 2007.

Schumer’s legislation would mandate that the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy devise and implement a comprehensive counter-narcotics plan for the 4,000-mile border. New York Rep. Bill Owens is expected to sponsor a similar bill in the House.

The National Drug Control Policy office said in a statement it had not seen the proposed legislation but was interested in learning more about it.

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