For the past two months, a jury has been hearing testimony from members of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's cartel, and it turns out that the wall isn't the deterrent some leaders claim it is for drugs coming across the southern border. CNN reports that former cartel members testified that most drugs come across legal points of entry into the U.S. aboard trains, boats, semi-trucks, and cars.
According to testimony, drugs were frequently smuggled by licensed drivers hidden in canned or frozen food or in hidden compartments in vehicles. Witnesses say that smugglers even used tunnels to move drugs from warehouses in Mexico to warehouses in the U.S. where a tractor-trailer could pick up the shipment and move it into the country without detection.
El Chapo constructed more than 100 tunnels that were used not only to smuggle drugs, but to help him escape from prison.
The news comes just as border agents discovered the third underground tunnel in a month crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Authorities suspect the tunnel was used to move drugs and people across the border. The tunnel is about 32-feet long and runs near Nogales, Mexico to Nogales, Arizona.
A high-ranking member of the Sinaloa cartel named Jesus Zambada Garcia confirmed that drugs have come across using tunnels. Zambada Garcia was arrested in 2008 and extradited to the United States for importing, distributing and selling cocaine. He pleaded guilty but is awaiting sentencing.
"(A tunnel) is the most secure way to cross drugs to the US -- the easiest way to cross over weapons," Zambada Garcia said.The DEA confirmed this information, saying that only a small portion of heroin seized by border agents comes from outside the ports of entry. A "majority" of it comes through vehicles, followed by tractor-trailers, at the ports of entry.
All of this contradicts what President Donald Trump has claimed is the most important factor in controlling drugs from entering the United States.
"Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl," Trump said Tuesday. "Every week 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90% of which floods across from our southern border. More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War," Trump said in a speech this week.
It's a familiar stance, which the president has repeated many times since being elected.The wall remains the main source of contention between Democrats and the president in the government shutdown, which is officially the longest in U.S. history.