The Department of Defense’s Support to Law Enforcement Agencies in Countering Drug Trafficking

On a dark night, 12 undocumented aliens hastily move north along worn desert paths through agave plants and velvet mesquite trees in the southern Arizona mountainous terrain. They strain and readjust the straps underneath the heavy 40-pound packs of marijuana they are smuggling across the United States–Mexico border for the Sinaloa Cartel. These individuals have made this trek before and understand this two- to three-day movement will net the cartel approximately $237,600 once the marijuana reaches its final destination of Kansas City, Missouri, or the small town of Whiteville, North Carolina.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Arizona Department of Public Safety, and other local and state law enforcement agencies work tirelessly to prevent these packs of marijuana from reaching the major distribution points and final destinations throughout the United States. Often standing alone in the desolate southern Arizona desert, as well as other regions of the United States and its territories, these agents and officers watch and maneuver to interdict and capture the undocumented aliens in order to disrupt transnational criminal organizations’ (TCOs’) distribution networks.