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Border Drug Series: From Cartel To End User

Courtesy of CBP

Fronteras: First we look at the link between cartels and the end user, addicts. San Diego as a number one entry point for meth. How trucking companies and law enforcement try to keep up with the evolving business of drug smuggling. A smuggling ring revealed that operated from Arizona to Washington State.

Drug Cartels Thrive on Ultimate Consumers: Addicts

This week we're taking a look into an industry that reaches every city and every small town in every state of the West. That industry is illegal narcotics. In collaboration with the Northwest News Network, Fronteras: The Changing America Desk explores how drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine get into the U.S.; how they’re distributed; and what drives the demand for certain drugs.

This first story aired originally in July, but we reprise it here to examine San Diego’s evolution as the principal entry point for Mexican-made methamphetamine. As Jill Replogle reports, more than 70 percent of meth illegally trafficked into the U.S. from Mexico comes in through San Diego.

San Diego Is Biggest Entry Point For Mexican Meth

More than five million trucks crossed into the U.S. from Mexico last year. For drug smugglers, getting a truckload of illegal narcotics past border authorities means potentially huge profits. But they're often up against two levels of security: that of U.S. law enforcement, and that of private export and shipping companies. In part two of our Border To Border drug series, Jill Replogle  explores how authorities and trucking companies are trying to stay ahead of smugglers.

Keeping Drugs Out Of Cross-Border Commerce

Drug distributors operate an illicit export business that depends on freeways that run from California and Arizona to Canada. If you drive these freeways, chances are you’ve passed a car or truck secretly holding a cargo of heroin, meth or cocaine. Correspondent Austin Jenkins introduces us to a smuggling ring that operated from Arizona to Washington State.

Unraveling A Drug Distribution Ring That Spanned The West Coast

The drug industry is evolving. Drug experts say heroin is back on the rise, fueled in part by prescription drug abuse. In the final story in our Border to Border Drugs series, correspondent Chris Lehman of the Northwest News Network reports on how the supply side of this business may change, but the demand remains strong.

Crystal Chavez was Texas Public Radio’s Morning Edition host for three years, until January 2015.