As President Trump drummed up support for the billions of dollars he sought for a border wall, he routinely pointed to one crime that he said the edifice would stop: drug smuggling.
“[U]nlike what the Democrats say, they don’t, you don’t bring trucks of drugs through the checkpoints,” he said at the end of January.
Two weeks later, after he announced his intent to declare a national emergency, he brought it up again: “A big majority of the big drugs, the big drug loads don’t go through ports of entry,” he said. “They can’t go through ports of entry. You can’t take big loads because you have people. We have some very capable people, the Border Patrol, law enforcement, looking.”
But a historically large drug bust announced Monday, nearly 2,000 miles away from the United States-Mexico border, underscored how drug smugglers do look to ports of entry for large drug-running jobs. Despite Trump’s claims, experts say the majority of drugs come into the United States through legal ports of entry — not illegal crossings.
Customs and Border Protection announced that a task force drawn from six law enforcement organizations had seized 3,200 pounds of cocaine — a street value of $77 million — on Feb. 28, not from some dusty overland trail in Texas, but from a shipping container that arrived at the port in Newark, N.J.