Just one year after initiating the Obama administration's Southwest Border Initiative, the United States has made "significant progress" in controlling drug trafficking and related violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano.
"Over the past year, our unprecedented cooperation with the Mexican government and sustained security efforts along the border have resulted in major progress in combating the ruthless cartels that threaten the safety of both our nations," said Sec. Napolitano in a press release.
The successes came with a significant buildup in field personnel. Since this time last year, DHS has doubled the number of personnel assigned to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces; tripled the number of ICE intelligence analysts along the U.S.-Mexico border and quadrupled deployments of Border Liaison Officers.
"Today, the Border Patrol is better staffed than at any time in its 85-year history, having nearly doubled the number of agents from approximately 10,000 in 2004 to more than 20,000 in 2009," stated Napolitano.
In addition to the manpower buildup, DHS agents are, for the first time, searching all southbound freight trains for illegal weapons, drugs and cash entering Mexico from the United States.
- Seized $85 million in illicit cash;
- Seized 1,404 firearms and 1.62 million kilograms of drugs; and
- Seized $29.5 million in illicit southbound cash along the Southwest border
All seizure rates were significantly increased over the same period last year, according to DHS.