I finish my trip to the border with the Pima County Sherriff Department by asking the tough questions. Are you making a difference? “We are just putting a dent in the cartels,” one deputy tells me. “These guys will send a 10,000 pound load of marijuana across the border as a decoy so they can divert your attention and move an even bigger score some place else.”
What do you need? More of what we have, I am told. If they had a lot more resources they could do a lot more interdiction, that would lead to more investigations, and then they could start to roll up the cartel organizations north of the border. Providing greater federal assistance to border sheriffs departments to support local community policing efforts ought to be a “no brain” solution for Washington.
It is, one of the fastest, most effective, and most cost-effective ways to get more assets into the border war right now. It is going to take an integrated federal-state-and-local law enforcement effort to beat the cartels on this side of the border, and we have to make the locals a stronger part of that team. Pima County offers a good model for what can be done.