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Mexico Replaces Customs Force and Doubles Size

Mexican customs officials graduate from their training program. The Mexican g...
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Above: Mexican customs officials graduate from their training program. The Mexican government recently said they have doubled their customs officials at borders.

Mexico has replaced its entire force of customs inspectors in order to catch more contraband that's smuggled into that country. The shake up is part of a bigger effort to root out corruption in Mexican customs and increase vigilance at border crossings.

The move doubles the number of Mexican customs inspectors from 700 to 1,400. Mexican federal officials say the new agents are younger. All are between 18 and 30 years old.

Officials say they're also educated. More than 70 percent have university degrees and that the new batch was chosen after a strict selection process, including psychological and drug tests and a criminal background check.

Mexican customs is in the midst of rolling out a system to screen all cars headed into Mexico. The main thrust of the new program is to sniff out goods people try to smuggle into the country to avoid paying taxes and to find guns and cash that end up in drug cartels' hands.

Tijuana newspapers report 80 new agents are at work at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa border crossings.

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