The Border Patrol's two Pacific Northwest outposts tallied their total drug seizures for 2011, and the stats indicate that smugglers were caught trying to sneak ecstasy and marijuana across the border more frequently than meth, heroin, and other drugs.
As of yesterday morning, the Spokane sector reported a total of 49 drug seizures. Here's the breakdown, with the estimated street value of the drugs according to the Border Patrol in parentheses:
Marijuana "ERAD" (eradication): 6 seizures, 686 pounds ($598,000)The estimated street values should be taken with a humongous grain of salt. Some of the figures are obviously inflated, such as the suggestion that .248 pounds of meth sells for a whopping $10,235 on the black market. For comparison's sake, during an undercover bust by the ATF and King County Sheriff's earlier this year, the going rate for meth was reportedly $14,500 per pound. Spokane sector spokesman Leigh Fitzpatrick says the values are based on DEA estimates.
Marijuana: 23 seizures, 2.975 pounds ($1,564.46)
Meth: 6 seizures, .248 pounds ($10,235.82)
Cocaine: 1 seizure, 71.6 pounds ($650,000)
Morphine: 1 seizure, .003 pounds ($75)
Ecstasy: 4 seizures, 474.144 pounds ($11,883,141.24)
Heroin: 1 seizure, .001 pounds ($100)
Mushrooms: 1 seizure, .063 pounds ($250)
Lortabs: 1 seizure, 2 doses ($30)
Tramadol: 1 seizure, 55 doses ($40)
Currency: 4 seizures, $124,864
The ecstasy and cash totals for the Spokane sector were bolstered earlier this month when Border Patrol agents found nearly 100 pounds of E and $20,000 cash sitting in a field near the border. Fitzpatrick says the discovery was possible because the area was monitored by "high-tech devices."
Alas, by the time agents arrived the drug-runners had scampered back into Canada. "All we have is what was left behind," Fitzpatrick said.
The seizure stats provided by the Blaine sector are far less detailed, and for the 2011 fiscal year, meaning they are only up-to-date through September 30:
Marijuana: 41 lbsOne noteworthy bust not included in those figures occurred just in time for the holidays. On December 2, agents from the Blaine sector found 1000 ecstasy pills (which tipped the scales at .77 pounds) wrapped in a Christmas present stashed in a berry field near Lynden.
Cocaine: 92.73 lbs
Heroin: 11.20 oz
Meth: 1.64 lbs
Nationwide in the 2011 fiscal year, the Border Patrol outposts across the country reportedly combined to seize five million pounds of drugs, a 20 percent increase from 2010. They also confiscated $126 million in "undeclared" currency.
The figures are especially staggering when one considers that this is only the amount that was sniffed out. Five million pounds is a drop in the sea compared to all the drugs that presumably passed through undetected.