Here’s a stereotype we’re glad to see get busted.
Many people in the United States view drug smuggling as an industry dominated by Mexicans. It’s easy to see how people would get that idea. A consistent stream of reports about Mexico’s wildly out-of-control drug war that’s claimed more than 60,000 lives makes the country seem awash in violence (though in fact, to judge by homicide rate, it’s actually a little less violent than the Bahamas or Puerto Rico).
But a new report shows that U.S. citizens are actually the people most likely to be involved in drug smuggling.
The article from the Center for Investigative Reporting released Wednesday finds that three out of four people caught with drugs by the Border Patrol are U.S. citizens, and four out of five drug busts involve an American.
The Center, which based its report on records of more than 80,000 drug busts from 2005 to 2011, isn’t shy about heaping blame on the Border Patrol for creating the public perception that most drug smugglers are Mexican.
There’s no argument that Mexico-based crime organizations dominate drug smuggling into the United States. But the public message that the Border Patrol has trumpeted for much of the last decade, mainly through press releases about its seizures, has emphasized Mexican drug couriers, or mules, as those largely responsible for transporting drugs.
The United States is the hemisphere’s largest drug market, so it isn’t all that surprising that, sooner or later, the drugs would wind up in American hands.
Hear more about the issue in the HuffPost Live segment above and check out the whole report at the Center for Investigative Reporting’s website. And have a look at some of the most creative ways people have smuggled drugs in the slideshow below.