When we think of drug trafficking our minds inevitably go to our southern border with Mexico and the perilous waters off our southern coasts. In the latest episode of Extreme Smuggling airing Monday, at 8/7c we are reminded that our northern border with Canada offers just as much opportunity for the illegal drug trade.
In fact, in many ways the 4,000 mille US-Canadian border is ideal for sophisticated cartels, with official border crossings hundreds of miles apart and deep, unguarded woods on either side. Sure enough, traffickers found a high tech, aerial way to move a potent strain of marijuana called BC Bud.
The entire operation fell apart after a routine traffic stop and hundreds of hours of patient observation building a case.
The traffic stop at a Washington State border crossing turned up a person on a watch list, and while they found no drugs on board they did find a GPS, a satellite phone, and maps of a local forest. To find out what it was all about they placed the car under survelliance; the car was followed to a clearing deep in the woods and while nothing of note took place officials placed hidden cameras in the area.
Patience pays off in the law enforcement game, for after watching for countless hours Border Patrol came up with nothing. Nothing, until the day a helicopter dropped in with packages of marijuana which were scooped up by a waiting courier. To make the case stick, law enforcement watched dozens of drops from various helicopters and followed the on-ground couriers.
The net broadened when a van was captured with over $3 million dollars worth of marijuana – but the real find was another GPS filled with coordinates for the team to watch with their motion sensor cameras.
The patience paid off when one day a chopper came in and the pilot got out to speak to the courier, the law enforcement officials took that opportunity to raid the operation. The net take over the course of the investigation was $15 million dollars and over 50 arrests.
While large-scale law enforcement operations like this show the incredible coordination between agencies such as Customs and Border Patrol and Homeland Security Investigations, it also shines a light on the highly evolved operations of the drug cartels. The ultimate fear is that these sophisticated means of trafficking drugs could easily be converted to weapons of mass destruction or launching a terrorist attack.
Join us on for Extreme Smuggling, Monday at 8/7c to hear even more outrageous stories of drug cartels, their well-financed operations and the law enforcement community that never gives up.
Tags: Law Enforcement