According to recent reports, drug traffickers are now turning to high seas after the tightening of security in the U.S. borders. The areas boats and large water vessels carrying smuggled drugs are traversing are now becoming wider which tripled compared to last year.
In South America, drug traffickers have been navigating such a vast area that even a large country like United States can fit within it. However, despite the increasing cases of drug trafficking in high seas, the Coast Guard is one of the agencies that have been hit the hardest by budget cuts. U.S. Coast Guard is the only law enforcement military service capable of arresting drug traffickers even hundreds of miles away offshore.
Due to federal budget cuts, the budget for the agency has been cut down by 25% last year. Because of cutbacks, help from the U.S Navy ships to bust drug missions along Latin America have also been decommissioned. With the limited resources and help from the navy, only 1/3 of the aircrafts and boats suspected by the Coast Guard to carry illegal drugs passing through South America were captured last year according to Adm. Robert Papp, top officer of Coast Guard.
According to Defense officials, they already warned the government that the budget cut on the Coast Guard would hamper the agency’s effort to reach the goal set by the President. Proper resources, sophisticated tools, and help from the navy are crucial since small boats can carry only up to 1 ton of drugs but large vessels can carry as much as 20 tons of illegal drugs.