Drug seizures decline along U.S.-Mexico border as migrant flow rises

The Border Patrol distracted by a surge of Central American migrants crossing into south Texas, Mexican cartels have had an easier time smuggling illegal drugs across the border, according to agents and state officials.

The arrival of large groups of women and children on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande is pulling agents away from their patrol stations elsewhere along the border, creating gaps in coverage that the traffickers can exploit, according to Chris Cabrera, vice president of the Border Patrol union’s Rio Grande Valley chapter.

The smugglers wait on the southern banks of the Rio Grande as migrant groups as large as 250 wade across at dusk and turn themselves in to the Border Patrol, he said. Then groups of single men proceed to cross under cover of darkness, hoping to slip through.

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