La Opinion, News Report
enforcement agencies point instead to U.S. citizens and Native Americans as the dominant figures in the illicit trade, La Opinion reports.
In the state of Arizona where the illegal immigrant population is over half a million, it is no secret among law enforcement agencies that the drug market is run by American citizens and Native Americans, La Opinion reports.
The newspaper cites statistics showing that, of the 34,000 prisoners in Arizona, only 2,000 illegal immigrants are being held on drug charges.
Drug trafficking has left a deep mark on the Native American population.
"Almost all the families of the Tohono O'odham tribe have been harmed by a relative jailed for transporting drugs or illegal immigrants,” said Vincent Garcia, Sergeant of the Tohono O'odham Police Department. “My own family has this situation: my brother has been in prison for transporting drugs, I have two sisters who were in prison for transporting illegals."
The Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation is the largest reservation along the U.S. border with Mexico and is roughly the size of the state of Connecticut. The reservation shares 75 miles of border with Mexico and is the transshipment point into the United States for 10 percent of all marijuana produced in Mexico, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
According to the Department of Justice report, “Drug Market Analysis,” over 400 tons of marijuana has been confiscated solely on the Indian reservation between 2005 and 2009.
Smugglers recruit dozens of Native American Indians to carry drugs or to hide groups of immigrants. According to Sergeant Garcia, “this problem will always be there; the only way in which this will change is if the Mexican economy improves.