The border fence that was built to keep illegal immigrants and narcotics out of the United States ends a couple of metres into the Pacific ocean. Captain Dave Myers shows Alastair Good where he has picked up swimmers, surfers, and boats laden with marijuana from Mexico.
“That’s Mexico over there,” says Captain Dave Myers, pointing to the Tijuana bullring 100 yards away from where he is sitting in his patrol car in Imperial Beach, San Diego.
“We used to come up here all the time as kids, go surfing, eat street tacos in Tijuana and then come back across.”
Those days are gone now. Two fences run along the Mexico-US border and video cameras mounted on 20ft poles monitor the barren strip of land 24 hours a day, giving the area the air of a demilitarised zone.
During his first week at Imperial Beach police station, Capt Myers joined a patrol at the border fence during severe fog. “All you could hear was the clink, clink of metal on metal, all around,” he said. “You couldn’t see the hand in front of your face but you could hear this noise everywhere, it was eerie.”
The noise was made by Mexicans putting ladders up to the fence and throwing their cargo and/or themselves over into America.
It is this determination that means law enforcement activity on the border is only likely to lead to the displacement of smuggling, rather than its eradication.
In 1996, Californians voted to pass Proposition 215, a law which paved the way for medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
On November 2, California will be voting whether to approve Proposition 19, a law that would legalise the drug for personal recreational use.
Smugglers have demonstrated unbounded creativity when it comes to sneaking drugs across the Mexican border. And the U.S. government acknowledges there is only so much it can do to stop the flow. (Oct. 28, 2009)