Four of Five Border Patrol Drug Busts Involve US Citizens, Records Show
The public’s view of a typical Mexican drug smuggler might not include U.S. Naval Academy grad Todd Britton-Harr, who was caught at a Border Patrol checkpoint in south Texas in December 2010 hauling a trailer with 1,100 pounds of marijuana.
Nor would someone like Laura Lynn Farris leap to mind. Border Patrol agents stopped the 52-year-old woman at a border checkpoint 15 miles south of the west Texas town of Alpine in February 2011 with 162 pounds of marijuana hidden under dirty blankets in laundry baskets.
There’s no argument that Mexico-based crime organizations dominate drug smuggling into the United States. But the public message that the Border Patrol has trumpeted for much of the last decade, mainly through press releases about its seizures, has emphasized Mexican drug couriers, or mules, as those largely responsible for transporting drugs.
It turns out that the Border Patrol catches more American citizens with drugs than it does Mexican couriers, according to an analysis of records obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Three out of four people found with drugs by the border agency are U.S. citizens, the data show. Looked at another way, when the immigration status is known, 4 out of 5 busts – which may include multiple people – involve a U.S. citizen.
Read more at the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Photo: Mugshots of people arrested in remote Hudspeth County, Texas, where the Big Bend Sector’s Sierra Blanca checkpoint sits. Credit: Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office
First order of business: a Cornish pasty is not just a cold-weather empanada. Yes, it’s a stuffed pastry like empanadas are, but pastes have their own crimping and filling conventions, and their own type of dough. They’re different enough that a lot of pastes shops have both pastes and empanadas listed on the menu.
Pasty fillings divide into savory and sweet: fibrous, stewy tinga de pollo and beans-and-chorizo seem to be the most popular meal selections, with hearty potato and onion a close runner-up, while dessert or breakfast sweet pastes come with pineapple, apple, creamy nuez (a sweet nut butter) or arroz con crema. People in Real del Monte and Pachuca, where the highway is lined with mom-and-pop pastes shops as well as corporatized fast-food-style chains like Pastes Kiko’s, seem like they could survive on these baked goods alone.
It’s really not so strange. Foreigners think of Mexico as a hot country, but just as often the mountains are cool, and at the high altitude, summer tropical storms aren’t sultry. They’re as cold as a Cornwall early spring. The day my girlfriend and I arrived, we were madly underdressed and had to impulse-buy flap caps and, in a great humiliation to us capitalinos, tourist-corny jergas (the rough, hooded sweatshirts your cousin might have come back from Tijuana in). At sundown as we returned to the centro, it started to rain. I had eaten my first Cornish pasty when I was an expat teenager in Buckinghamshire twenty-five years ago, but I still knew exactly what it was for. No matter that the filling is Mexican chicken in red sauce; the feeling of refuge, of a warm pastry to fend off a chilling rain, that is as English as, well… you know the rest.
More from Grant Cogswell on the baked good that the Cornish miners of Hidalgo left behind
- 1547: Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés dies in Seville at age 62.
- 1825: The future Emperor Pedro II of Brazil is born in Rio de Janeiro to Dom Pedro I and his wife, the Archduchess Maria Leopoldina of Austria.
- 1956: Fidel Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and several…