Mexican Criminal Organizations Try to Infiltrate Border Patrol Ranks

According to a New York Times report, anticorruption investigators are worried that Mexican drug organizations are making a concerted effort to infiltrate Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ranks.  Facing increased security on the border that now includes miles of new fencing, floodlights, motions sensors and cameras, Mexican traffickers target customs agents with cross-border ties or even solicit some of their own operatives to apply for customs agents' positions. 

The report states that while the majority of CBP border patrol agents stay away from crime, cases have been reported where border patrol agents have helped traffickers smuggle drugs and illegal immigrants into the U.S. by tipping smugglers on where the border guards are or by admitting the smugglers' vehicles into the U.S. without checking them. 

To tighten the border security between the U.S. and Mexico, the U.S. has spent $11 billion in 2009 building physical barriers and developing the country's largest law enforcement agency to patrol the area. Federal officials believe that drug traffickers are taking advantage of CBP's hiring rush for customs agents. Criminal organizations direct people to apply to CBP positions only to help traffickers smuggle drugs and people into the country. 

According to the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Office, arrests of CBP agents and officers have increased 40 percent in the last few years as compared to the 24 percent growth in the agency itself. Currently, the office has 400 open investigations which sometimes take years to close.