SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB
DATE: May 12, 2006
CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108
COUNTY FEARFUL OF WEAKENED MEXICAN DRUG LAWS
SAN DIEGO - Worried about an increase in street drugs flowing over the border with Mexico, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to condemn the Mexican Congress for approving legislation that would decriminalize a long list of highly addictive drugs including cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.
At the urging of Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the Board agreed to send a letter directly to Mexican President Vicente Fox urging him to oppose efforts to resurrect the bill. The bill was vetoed by Fox last week.
“When it comes to street drugs, what happens in Mexico doesn’t stay in Mexico— it gets smuggled into the U.S.,” Jacob said. “Legalization would give cartels greater access to drugs and that would spell more junk spilling into San Diego neighborhoods, wreaking additional havoc on our public services,” she said.
Already, nearly 90 percent of the cocaine sold in the U.S. is smuggled through Mexico. The nation is the number two supplier of heroin, the largest foreign source of marijuana and the largest producer of methamphetamine, according to the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Mexican drug trafficking organizations, including the Tijuana-based Arellano Felix cartel, are the, “…predominant cocaine transporters and wholesale distributors in the country, and also produce, transport and distribute much of the heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine available in U.S. drug markets” according to the National Drug Threat Assessment 2006 prepared by the National Drug Intelligence Center.
Jacob said she worries especially about the legislation’s impact on American young people who often cross the Border to take advantage of Mexico’s lower minimum drinking age.
“Cultural acceptance of drugs increases the likelihood that youth will experiment with these highly-addictive dangerous substances,” Jacob warned. “Mexico is already a destination for underage drinking. We do not need Tijuana to become a destination for underage drug use as well,” she said.
Jacob said that legalization would jeopardize cross border efforts to fight drugs, such as Operation Speed BUMP, a bi-national crack down on meth trafficking that netted more than 800 arrests in 2004.
“If Mexico is serious about interdiction, there must be a level of trust between both countries. This misguided legislation already has done some damage to that trust. I believe, as a border county, we must articulate that directly to our neighbors to the South,” Jacob said.