It was a Good year for the San Diego U.S. Border Patrol and a Bad year for drug smugglers.
In the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, San Diego Border Patrol agents seized 1,697 pounds of cocaine — a 105 percent jump from the year before, according to recently released statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
They seized 2,880 ounces of heroin, an increase of 45 percent. Breaking bad bad guys saw 1,797 pounds of methamphetamine seized, a 43.7 percent jump.
The only drop in seizures was for marijuana, and it was steep — 63.4 percent from the year before. Agents got 17,497 pounds.
Might it be that two states — Colorado and Washington — both legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, lessening demand?
Well, U.S. Customs thinks it's because pot is getting cheap and it's not worth the trouble to smuggle it in. “One reason is marijuana is now a low-priced product," said public relations specialist Ralph DeSio of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “The DEA drug price for one pound of marijuana is only $650 a pound.”
You get more back for the buck with the other drugs, he said. Plus, unlike marijuana, there are “various ways to smuggle (the more expensive drugs) through smaller loads and deeper concealments,” he said.
Look at the prices: Cocaine goes for $13,00 per pound. Heroin is at $12,000 per pound and methamphetamine is $10,000 per pound.
Matching wits with drug dealers is a dangerous job. In the last fiscal year, there were 85 assaults against agents, a 16.4 percent jump. But the situation has vastly improved since 2008 when there were 377 attacks, the most ever.
The San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents patrol 60 miles of border and 114 miles of coastal boarder.