Feb. 19, 2003
Smuggling illegal drugs into the United States has been a big money-
making scheme for many years, but the industry of smuggling people may be
getting even more profitable than marijuana or cocaine. Fees range from
$1,000 for Mexicans to $4,000 for Central Americans and up to $50,000 for
Chinese or Middle Easterners.
The 18-wheeler is the smuggler's vehicle of choice. A loaded 18-
wheeler can be worth $100,000 to $200,000. The business deal calls for a
down payment before the ride starts. After crossing the border, the
smugglers often hold the vulnerable aliens until family or friends pay a
In one of the largest operations, smugglers were indicted for bringing
in at least 11 tractor-trailer loads of aliens between 1999 and 2002,
receiving about $1,500 for each alien. Drugs, prostitutes and money were
used to entice the drivers into using their 18-wheelers to haul the human
Their last trip was deadly. The aliens were loaded into the trailer
with little water and no food and, in the intense heat, many suffered
hallucinations and lost consciousness and two died.
In Brownsville, Texas, three men pleaded guilty to another alien-
smuggling ring that transported three truckloads of 30 people a day from
Mexico to Houston, where people were hidden in houses until they could be
shipped farther north. Western Union receipts showed that the smugglers
raked in more than $5 million for their racket, which went on for years.
A school bus mechanic was arrested in Syracuse on charges he tried to
smuggle 15 Chinese nationals across the St. Lawrence River from Canada. The
families had paid international smugglers between $15,000 and $40,000 for
safe passage to the United States.
Iraqi native George Tajirian ran a smuggling ring, charging $15,000
per head, from all over the world importing more than 1,000 Middle Eastern
aliens. Two men from Pakistan and Sri Lanka were arrested in Miami on
charges that they smuggled Middle Easterners into the U.S. for $20,000
Tragic truck and van accidents have been reported all over the United
States as the illegals are transported far from the border. In
Brownsville, Texas, 73 illegal aliens were found hidden in a tractor-
trailer among overripe watermelons to disguise the odor of the people.
After a truck with illegal aliens slammed into a tractor-trailer
killing nine people in Iowa, state officials estimated that 1,000 illegal
immigrants cross Iowa on I-80 in overloaded vans and trucks every day. In
Denison, IA, 11 bodies were found in a railroad car.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, about 65% of
all the cocaine and most of the marijuana that enters this country comes
from Mexico. In just one week last December, San Diego's KFMB Radio
reported that U.S. agents caught Mexicans driving a van with 5,989 pounds
of marijuana valued at $2.7 million, a produce truck with 8,596 pounds of
marijuana, an SUV overloaded with a 1,000-pound haul of marijuana, a big
rig carrying a ton of marijuana, and $213,000 worth of marijuana coming
over a mobile ramp system built to drive vehicles over a fence and directly
into the United States.
Border Patrol in south Texas caught 22 illegal aliens from Mexico,
Honduras and El Salvador transporting 1,700 pounds of marijuana worth $1.25
million. Drug investigators have discovered three tunnels and a fourth
under construction at the U.S.-Mexico border at Nogales.
Hundreds of drug traffickers have flooded into North Carolina. In
1995, only 10 Hispanics were in state prisons for drug trafficking
convictions, but the number has now risen to 400.
It should be no surprise that the combination of clusters of illegal
aliens and the persistence of illegal drugs has increased the crime rate.
Phoenix police report that 60% of the homicides involve Mexicans mixed up
in smuggling both drugs and people, Tucson's crime rate has grown 12 times
the national average, and a vehicle is stolen in Arizona every 10 minutes.
City gangs are a big problem in many states, and gangs have invaded
the suburbs, too. The worst city gang is thought to be MS-13, a ruthless
Salvadoran gang that has spread to at least 28 states including
The deserts and the national parks have become favorite routes for the
entry of illegal aliens. Last year, 200,000 illegal aliens were caught
sneaking into our country through the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
in southern Arizona, and 700,000 pounds of illegal drugs were intercepted.
Two armed Mexicans, who had killed four men in a murder spree over
drugs, crossed into the Arizona state park last August 9, and three agents
including National Park Service ranger Kris Eggle responded. One fugitive
was captured but the other fled, and Kris Eggle, who had been a cross
country runner, gave chase, was shot below his bullet-proof vest and died
in an ambulance.
Where is any media or public outrage over this murder by an illegal
alien on U.S. territory? One million illegal aliens are now entering our
country each year.
If a Mexican day laborer can sneak across our border, so can an al
Qaeda terrorist. According to a Fox News poll, 79 percent of Americans
support using the military to help secure U.S. borders.
Phyllis Schlafly column 2-19-03
Further Reading: Border Security