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California Border Alliance Group Drug Market Analysis
June 2007

CBAG Overview

The CBAG region, which consists of San Diego and Imperial Counties and encompasses California's entire 145-mile portion of the U.S.-Mexico border, is a principal drug smuggling corridor for illicit drugs entering the country from Mexico. This border area is extensively used by DTOs through which to smuggle significant quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin into the CBAG region.

A high volume of cross-border traffic facilitates illicit drug smuggling from Mexico into the CBAG region. The daily movement of individuals and goods across the border provides innumerable opportunities for traffickers to conceal smuggling activities while blending with legitimate traffic. Mexican DTOs typically enter the CBAG region at or between the six land POEs along the U.S.-Mexico border in California: Andrade, Calexico East, Calexico West, Otay Mesa, San Ysidro, and Tecate. The San Ysidro POE is one of the busiest POEs along the U.S.-Mexico border in the volume of private vehicles and pedestrians entering the United States.

The population of the CBAG region, along with that of the Mexican cities located along the California-Mexico border, accounts for 60 percent of the population along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. San Diego, the largest U.S. city on the U.S.-Mexico border, and its sister city,2 Tijuana, the second-largest Mexican city on the border, have a combined population greater than that of any other border area. The cultural connections among the large population in the California-Mexico border area contribute to drug traffickers' ability to engage in large-scale smuggling operations. DTOs often have family members and extensive contacts on both sides of the border who frequently assist in trafficking operations.

The extensive transportation network that facilitates commercial trade and traffic across the California-Mexico border creates an ideal environment for drug trafficking operations. Mexican DTOs transport illicit drugs across the border using private and commercial vehicles, private and commercial aircraft, buses, rail, and package delivery services. Once the drugs are in the United States, overland transportation along Interstates 5, 8, 15, and 805 affords drug traffickers the means and routes to transport them within the CBAG region and on to other markets throughout the United States. The CBAG region also is vulnerable to maritime smuggling from Mexico along the region's Pacific Coast. Traffickers use small watercraft to retrieve drugs either in Mexico or from larger ships located offshore and transport them into the area by blending with commercial and recreational maritime traffic.

End Note

2. Sister cities are separate border cities located in proximity to one another; one of the cities is located in Mexico and the other in the United States. These cities often constitute binational and bicultural communities between which a high volume of individuals commute for work or school daily.

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