10.23.2017 0

Why are sanctuary cities helping the Mexican heroin cartels?

By Robert Romano

About 14 of the 284 rejected Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests for illegal aliens by local law enforcement were individuals on narcotics charges, including trafficking, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Judicial Watch from the Department of Homeland Security has revealed. The period covered the first three months of 2017.

When an ICE detainer request is rejected, the criminal gets released prior to interception by the ICE agents, and is back on the street. No word on if they ever turn up for their court dates — why would they bother? — but leaving that aside, the real question is why are local law enforcement entities refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in cases that would result in drug dealers being deported?

So far, we’ve seen excuses that ICE detainer requests are not legally binding — because Congress has not set forth that local law enforcement must comply with the requests — or that is simply the policy or law (as is the case now in California and Illinois) of that jurisdiction not to allow illegal immigrants to be deported, even if they’re drug traffickers.

But with now 13,000 heroin overdose deaths a year as of 2015, a significant and growing portion of the now 33,000 annual opioid overdose deaths, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, considered by all to be a crisis facing communities across the country, allowing some of these dealers back out onto the street who could be removed from the country appears inexplicable.

It is so inexplicable, it may be time for the Justice Department to start looking into the possibility that sanctuary jurisdictions are not harboring illegal aliens simply because they are liberal do-gooders who believe in open borders and non-enforcement of immigration law. Maybe they are being bribed by the cartels. Or worse, infiltrated.

Consider how drug dealers, especially bigger ones, already routinely bribe local and federal police officials to enable the drug trade.

Federal court documents against El Chapo, notorious head of the Sinaloa cartel, state that, “A cornerstone of his strategy was the corruption of officials at every level of local, municipal, state, national and foreign government, who were paid cash bribes to ensure that he and the Sinaloa Cartel were free to bring in tonnage quantities of cocaine from South America and move it freely to the United States.”

To be certain, a number of cases in recent years have been brought against police officers who it turns out were taking bribes from local drug dealers, in Baltimore, Md., Atlanta, Ga., Chicago, Ill., and Bakersfield, Ca. All are in sanctuary jurisdictions.

There are instances of airport security screeners being popped for taking bribes to allow drugs onto passenger planes, for example at San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport.

Even the U.S. Border Patrol has a major problem, a 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found: “From fiscal years 2005 through 2012, a total of 144 employees were arrested or indicted for corruption-related activities, including the smuggling of aliens or drugs, and 125 have been convicted. 20 About 65 percent (93 of 144 arrests) were employees stationed along the southwest border. Our review of documentation on these cases indicates that 103 of the 144 cases were for mission-compromising corruption activities, which are the most severe offenses, such as drug or alien smuggling, bribery, and allowing illegal cargo into the United States.”

But it’s not simply a matter of good cops going bad. The GAO report also warns of active infiltration by those who specifically sign up for the Border Patrol to facilitate the drug trade. The report stated, “there have been a number of cases in which individuals, known as infiltrators, pursued employment at CBP solely to engage in mission-compromising activity. For example, in 2007, a CBPO in El Paso, Texas, was arrested at her duty station at the Paso Del Norte Bridge for conspiracy to import marijuana into the United States from June 2003 to July 2007, and was later convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. OFO reported that she may have sought employment with CBP to facilitate drug smuggling. CBP officials view this case as an example of the potential impact of corruption — if the officer had succeeded in facilitating the importation of 5,000 pounds of marijuana per month, this would amount to a total of 240,000 pounds over 4 years with a retail value of $288 million dollars. In another case, a former BPA previously stationed in Comstock, Texas, was arrested in 2008 for conspiracy to possess, with intent to distribute, more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. The agent was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.”

These could just be the tip of the iceberg. In “Drugs: America’s Holy War,” Arthur Benavie warns, “The drug war generates enormous amounts of money, which flows in underground channels between groups of law breakers who are in constant danger of arrest. Police, judges, prosecutors, legislators, DEA agents, and prison guards are among those subject to bribery… Given the astronomical profits in black market drugs, and the fact that the illegal transactions take place between colluding sellers and buyers, law enforcement officials find themselves in possession of an extremely valuable service — looking the other way.”

The problem is extensive, according to “America’s Longest War: Rethinking Our Tragic Crusade Against Drugs,” in which Steven Duke and Albert Gross state, “Policemen in virtually every American city are on the payrolls of drug merchants, earning their pay by tipping off drug dealers about raids or searches, about ‘snitches’ and the like. Some police even engage in the drug trade themselves. Hundreds of law-enforcement officials have been convicted of taking bribes, stealing from drug dealers, even selling drugs.”

Then, a simple look at a map shows that sanctuary jurisdictions lay neatly along routes known to be taken by drug traffickers from Mexico, in California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. Chicago is the major destination for traffickers. From there, the drugs, including heroin, pretty much go everywhere.

Dallas, Texas, a sanctuary city, has been declared a “command center” by drug traffickers.

The damage can be traced as well, with the states being hit with the greatest number of heroin overdoses are falling in these distribution areas as well. Wherever the cartel goes, it leaves a path of death in its wake.

And if we want to get to the bottom of it, perhaps the Justice Department needs to follow these patterns. Maybe the sanctuary cities are helping. They might just be useful idiots, foolishly setting up non-enforcement zones against illegal aliens in areas where the cartel happens to be operating. Or perhaps they’re doing it on purpose. Maybe they’re on the take. It wouldn’t be the first time. It might be time to take a look, not just at dirty cops, but city councilmen, legislators and judges, too. This could be big.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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