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U.S. Border Authorities Seize More Methamphetamine, Boats

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Aired 2/24/11

Federal authorities in San Diego report a big increase in the amount of methamphetamine they seized along the border in fiscal 2010 compared with the previous year. The border agencies' recently released year end statistics also show more human smuggling by sea.

U.S. border officials say the amount of methamphetamine seized at San Diego border crossings jumped 48 percent in fiscal 2010 compared with the previous year.

Officials say the amount of methamphetamine they caught between the ports of entry also shot up, by 28 percent.

Stephen Pitts, a Border Patrol spokesman said they're finding more meth at highway checkpoints on Interstate 8 in Pine Valley and I-15 in Temecula.

"One of the reasons is that we have more drug-detecting dogs at our checkpoints and the experience level of our agents at these checkpoints is increasing. They're becoming better at performing their jobs," said Pitts.

Pitts said most of the cocaine and heroin agents found was also at vehicle checkpoints. But, he said cocaine seizures dropped 24 percent and heroin 16 percent compared with fiscal 2009. Federal officials said heroin seizures also dropped at border crossings, but agents found 11 percent more cocaine.

Meanwhile, according to the statistics, marijuana seizures were down by 41 percent at ports of entry and by 19 percent between them.

Last year, agents caught more than double the number of smuggling boats off San Diego's coast last year and detained double the number of people on them relative to the previous year.

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