The Border Patrol Needs to Improve Its Practices for Removing Deportable Aliens Arrested During Drug Seizures
INS practices for removing deportable aliens arrested during drug seizures enable many suspected drug smugglers to avoid any legal sanctions for their illegal entry into the United States. The Border Patrol allowed deportable aliens who were involved in drug smuggling to be granted a voluntary return or voluntary departure to Mexico, usually with no further processing for drug or immigration violations. Some of these aliens were convicted, aggravated felons. The lack of aggressive removal practices resulted in only 31 percent of the deportable aliens in our case sample actually being deported.
We analyzed the immigration outcomes for aliens arrested in the drug seizure cases in our sample. Some illegal aliens were released from the criminal justice system and never faced any immigration charges. Many illegal aliens were voluntarily returned to Mexico at the time of apprehension without being charged with any drug or immigration offense. Others were voluntarily returned at a later time after resolution of the criminal drug charges. Finally, other illegal aliens were deported from the United States after formal immigration proceedings had taken place. Deportation is a sanction that subjects aliens to a statutory bar on reentry into the United States and felony penalties for illegal reentry after deportation.10 Deportation is a significantly stronger deterrent to illegal entry than voluntary return or voluntary departure, which subjects aliens to no penalty or sanction other than return to their country of nationality.
Alien suspects apprehended in Border Patrol drug seizure cases are routinely turned over to DEA or another receiving agency to be processed for criminal drug charges before immigration issues are addressed. While prosecutorial thresholds may dictate which drug cases will be accepted for prosecution, such thresholds should not constrain INS as far as deportation is concerned.11 Any alien convicted of drug charges is deportable following the resolution of the criminal case and the conclusion of any jail or prison sentence. Aliens illegally present in the United States are removable regardless of whether or not they have committed a criminal act. The Border Patrol's handling of alien processing in drug seizure cases is crucial to ensure the removal of illegal aliens arrested during drug seizures. Deportation of illegal aliens who are suspected drug smugglers should be a high priority for INS, whether or not these aliens are prosecuted on drug charges. Border Patrol agents and supervisors with whom we spoke all agreed that illegal aliens apprehended in these cases should be deported regardless of the outcome of their criminal charges.
To avoid losing track of illegal aliens after the conclusion of their criminal matters, the Border Patrol's standard practice is to fill out a form I-247, Immigration Detainer - Notice of Action (detainer), at the time of apprehension, though there are no formal, written procedures to that effect. A detainer is a document that requests notification to an agency prior to release of a person in the custody of another agency. Detainers filed by INS enable INS to be notified by the detention facility of an alien's upcoming release from incarceration after resolution of criminal drug charges and completion of any sentence, so that INS can have an opportunity to assume custody and initiate deportation proceedings.
If the individual apprehended in a drug seizure case is a lawful permanent resident alien (LPR), the Border Patrol cannot place a detainer at the time of apprehension. An LPR is not subject to deportation from the United States unless he is a convicted aggravated felon.12 An aggravated felon, as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act, includes persons convicted of trafficking in controlled substances, including the sale, smuggling, distribution, and possession with intent to sell. If an LPR pleads guilty to or is found guilty of any of these charges, he is then subject to removal proceedings. At this point, INS can place a detainer on the alien to ensure that he is released to its custody to face deportation.
In order to examine the Border Patrol's handling of aliens detained in drug seizure cases, we compiled a spreadsheet of all apprehended aliens from our case sample. We checked for their records in INS databases, including the Deportable Alien Control System (DACS), the National Automated Immigration Lookout System II (NAILS II), the Central Index System (CIS), and the automated biometrics identification system (IDENT) Lookout, as well as in the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, to determine the disposition of both their criminal and immigration cases.13 The INS databases contained deportation and voluntary departure dates, as well as information regarding the administrative closing of a case.14 NCIC provided information on suspects' convictions, sentences, placement on probation and parole, and release into the community.
We attempted to ascertain the whereabouts of all aliens from our sample. Aliens' court cases were tracked by contacting court clerks; probation and parole officers; local, state and federal detention centers; Sheriff's offices; Border Patrol prosecutions units; INS officers; and DEA agents. Of particular importance was determining whether INS detainers had been placed in the aliens' files, or if deportation proceedings had begun.
There were a total of 385 aliens in our case sample of FY 1996 drug seizure cases.15 This total includes 45 aliens determined to be non-deportable, 42 aliens incarcerated or pending criminal or immigration proceedings, and 298 deportable aliens whose criminal and immigration proceedings were completed.16 Aliens are deportable if they have entered the United States illegally or have entered legally, but have violated their legal privilege to be here by being convicted of criminal activity.
Some of the 45 non-deportable aliens were LPRs who were not convicted of any crime, were convicted only of a misdemeanor, or whose criminal case information could not be located. Others had entered the country legally with border crossing cards or visas, and were either not convicted of any crime or their criminal case information could not be located.
Forty-two of the 385 aliens in our sample were still involved in either the immigration or criminal justice system at the conclusion of our field work. Thirty-four of these aliens were incarcerated for their criminal drug convictions; the other eight were pending criminal or immigration proceedings. Eighteen of the 34 incarcerated aliens did not have INS detainers placed in their files. The placement of detainers by the Border Patrol is crucial in ensuring that individuals are released to INS custody to face deportation after their criminal matters are resolved. Without detainers, INS would probably not have been notified of the release of these 18 deportable aliens, and they would have likely escaped deportation. We informed INS of the names of these 18 deportable aliens so that it may file detainers on them.
The other 298 of the 385 total aliens are deportable aliens whose criminal and/or immigration cases have been resolved. The immigration outcomes of these 298 are depicted in Chart 2. Only 91, or 31 percent, of these deportable aliens involved in the drug seizure cases in our sample have been ordered deported.17 We identified 14 deportable aliens who were on probation in the United States and 4 illegal aliens whose criminal cases were dismissed. These 18 individuals faced no immigration charges and, despite their known illegal status, may continue to live freely in the United States. Another 10 individuals are fugitives. A majority of them were originally placed on probation and when they failed to report to their probation officers they became fugitives with warrants issued for their arrest. There were an additional 25 illegal aliens whose names or alien numbers either were not found in any database or if found initially, could not be located after follow-up work was done, but whom we also classified as deportable based on immigration information on the I-44. There is no record of deportation on any of these 25 individuals, so it is likely that they were released from custody either in the U.S. or were voluntarily returned to Mexico.
Chart 2: Outcomes of Deportable Aliens (298 Aliens Total)
In the four sectors we visited, there was a consensus among Border Patrol supervisory and field agents that illegal aliens involved in drug seizure cases are not voluntarily returned to their home country, but are processed for deportation whether or not they are going to be prosecuted on the drug charges. Their statements are obviously contradicted by the actions of agents in the field as reported on the I-44s. Of the 298 deportable aliens in our sample, 154, or 52 percent, were granted a voluntary return or voluntary departure back to Mexico and were not deported. While it was not possible to determine the exact number, the case narratives suggest that approximately half of this 52 percent were probably not involved in any drug smuggling and therefore would have been unlikely candidates for deportation, barring other circumstances. For example, the Border Patrol apprehended a total of 49 illegal aliens (out of 51 sighted) along with four duffle bags containing approximately 200 pounds of marijuana. It is possible some of the apprehended individuals in this case (and individuals apprehended in a similar case) were not involved in drug smuggling. However, the other half of the 154 apprehended aliens were probably involved in and knowledgeable about the drug smuggling, even if there was not enough evidence to prosecute them for the drug offense, and should have been deported.
Of these 154 deportable aliens, the Border Patrol gave 137 an initial voluntary return, which means that they were voluntarily returned to Mexico shortly after apprehension, without referral for formal removal or prosecution.18 The remaining 17 were criminal aliens who were voluntarily returned even though INS had placed detainers on them, tracked them through their criminal proceedings, and ultimately took custody of them after their sentences were completed. In these cases, everything had been done to facilitate deportation of these individuals, but they were ultimately not deported but voluntarily returned. Border Patrol agents and INS officers we contacted at various Detention and Deportation and Prosecutions units could not explain these actions, and informed us that the practice of voluntarily returning convicted aggravated felons is not standard operating practice.19
Chart 3 depicts the breakdown of the number of voluntary returns among the four Border Patrol sectors that we visited. The San Diego sector granted the majority of the voluntary returns, however, San Diego's numbers included the two cases with larger numbers of illegal aliens, many of whom were probably not involved in the drug smuggling. Additionally, though, San Diego was responsible for 10 of the 17 voluntary returns granted to aliens released after completion of their criminal sentences.
Chart 3: Aliens Voluntarily Returned vs All Other Deportable
(298 Aliens Total)
Aliens by Sector
Source: OIG Inspection Case Sample
Some Border Patrol agents and supervisors stated that in special cases, such as a mother and children, or an alien who is injured, the alien will be voluntarily returned because it is in the best interest of the United States. A lack of juvenile detention space or high costs of routine medical examinations and treatments cause INS to release individuals who might otherwise be detained. Jails and detention facilities will often not accept individuals with medical conditions unless they have been examined and treated. However, agencies do not want to be held responsible for the costs of medical examinations and treatment, and, therefore, suspects, often with minor injuries or claiming to have pre-existing medical conditions, are not prosecuted on the criminal or immigration charges and are granted voluntary returns or departures. Specifically, DEA offices in some locations, such as El Centro, have informed us that they will no longer accept any suspect who is visibly under the influence of drugs, has an obvious untended injury, or claims to have a pre-existing medical condition that has not been evaluated by medical personnel.
Drug smugglers could use these practices to evade prosecution by faking an injury or medical condition. For example, our sample included a Tucson case in which the Border Patrol apprehended an illegal alien clearly in possession of approximately 140 pounds of marijuana. Because the suspect claimed to have epilepsy, DEA refused the case and the suspect was quickly granted a voluntary departure to Mexico thereby avoiding the medical evaluation to verify his condition that would have been required in order to keep the suspect in a jail or detention facility for any length of time.
The use of voluntary return or voluntary departure for removing suspected drug smugglers when no immigration paperwork, fingerprinting, or database entry is done creates a revolving door at the border and fails to deter drug smuggling. INS instructions to its enforcement officers, including Border Patrol agents, state that, prior to granting voluntary departure, officers should consider "indications that the alien may be engaged in other illegal activities."20 We believe that INS procedures for granting voluntary return or voluntary departure should explicitly prohibit those alternatives where there is a reason to believe that an alien is engaged in drug smuggling. INS should consider using its expedited removal authority for suspected drug smugglers apprehended by the Border Patrol, which would subject these illegal aliens to the same sanctions as exist in the more lengthy deportation process.21
Written policy is needed to clarify to Border Patrol agents that voluntary returns and voluntary departures should not be granted where there is a reason to believe that the illegal aliens are engaged in drug trafficking. At a minimum, agents need to fill out immigration paperwork and maintain the information in INS databases to indicate that the alien not only entered illegally, but was apprehended in a drug seizure case. Such information would be useful in establishing and tracking smuggling trends, and also in ensuring that aliens are not repeatedly apprehended and released in drug seizure cases.
The Border Patrol Needs to Improve Drug Interdiction Intelligence
The Border Patrol fails to systematically collect, record, and analyze much of the information of intelligence value to which Border Patrol agents have access during drug seizures and related arrests. Border Patrol agents often do not have the opportunity to interrogate suspects for drug interdiction intelligence. INS does not routinely retain suspects' fingerprints in drug seizure cases and enter them into identification databases such as the IDENT Lookout.
Every time anyone is apprehended in a Border Patrol drug seizure case, especially an illegal alien at the border, that suspect is a potential source of intelligence for all agencies involved in the counter drug effort. Each agency encountering the suspect should be sensitive to the intelligence needs of the other agencies, so that valuable information the suspect might provide is not lost. At the El Paso and Tucson sectors, the Border Patrol reads the apprehended aliens their rights and conducts some preliminary questioning with regard to alien age and the drug seizure; however, it does not conduct a thorough interview to gather drug interdiction intelligence.
In the El Centro and San Diego Sectors, DEA requests that Border Patrol agents not interview or question suspects or read them their rights. DEA wants this function to be handled by its agents. Sometimes they will allow Border Patrol agents to ask some preliminary questions to try and determine alien age, but nothing more. Once they arrive, the DEA agents usually question the drug smuggling suspects apprehended by Border Patrol agents without these agents present. When dealing with these drug smuggling suspects there is an intelligence gathering dilemma because the two agencies require different types of information, both of which are important to the success of their missions. The Border Patrol needs information pertaining to interdiction, such as routes across the border and methods of smuggling to enable the Border Patrol to interdict future drug smugglers. To support its investigative mission, DEA needs intelligence such as where and to whom the drugs were to be delivered, so it can target entire smuggling organizations. Because DEA mainly focuses on gathering evidence to facilitate investigations and prosecutions, information germane to future interdiction operations may be lost.22 The Border Patrol needs to recognize the significance of the interdiction intelligence available from drug smuggling suspects and to coordinate with DEA to ensure that each agency has ample opportunity to obtain information from suspects during questioning.
Another method by which valuable intelligence can be obtained is through fingerprints. Fingerprinting suspects is an important part of the Border Patrol's initial processing of apprehended aliens.23 Usually, in preparation for prosecution, the Border Patrol takes suspects' fingerprints on DEA fingerprint cards and turns these cards over to receiving agencies along with the criminal suspects. The Border Patrol rarely, if ever, maintains its own copy of an alien suspect's fingerprint cards. If an alien is going to be voluntarily returned rather than be turned over to another agency for prosecution of the drug charges, fingerprint cards are rarely prepared. When the Border Patrol does not maintain its own copies of these cards or take fingerprints of suspects who are going to be voluntarily returned, it loses a valuable source of potential identification that could be used to build a database to track possible drug smugglers. INS' fingerprint policy requires two sets of the ten-print cards to be taken and maintained on any "citizens and aliens arrested by the Service and presented for prosecution for a criminal offense." INS' informal policy is that one set of these fingerprint cards be sent to the Fingerprint Storage Facility to be added to the IDENT Lookout system, to enable identification of the individuals if they attempt reentry into the United States. The other set is sent to the FBI for a criminal history search.
We cross-checked the 385 aliens in our case sample with the IDENT Lookout system.24 Of the 340 aliens who were determined to be deportable, including those with cases still pending or incarcerated, we found that only 61, or 18 percent of them had been entered into the IDENT Lookout database. We believe that all deportable aliens apprehended in a drug seizure case should be included in the IDENT Lookout system, although there is no such provision currently in INS' fingerprint policy.25 Of these 61 aliens who appeared in the IDENT Lookout database, 70 percent of them had been deported and may have been entered into the database as part of their deportation processing.
If the Border Patrol and INS routinely took and maintained prints of all aliens apprehended in drug seizure cases, a database could easily be established to help identify aliens apprehended repeatedly. Such a database would be invaluable in conducting analysis and predicting trends for Border Patrol drug interdiction efforts along the Southwest border.26 Eventually, this information could be used not only to identify the drug smugglers, but also to ensure that they are processed for deportation.
In spite of this lack of suspect fingerprinting and questioning, the Border Patrol is attempting to collect and analyze drug interdiction intelligence. Each Border Patrol sector headquarters we visited had a small intelligence section. Although the resources are limited, these sections attempt to collect and analyze drug intelligence, use it to predict smuggling trends, and provide valuable information to agents in the field through intelligence summaries and situation reports. It is these sector intelligence sections that maintain informal databases of the drug seizure cases and copies of the I-44s.
In addition to these sector level intelligence sections, there are some intelligence sections within the various units and coordination centers of Operation Alliance. Organizations making up Operation Alliance with drug intelligence sections include the Border Patrol Special Coordination Center (BPSCC) in El Paso, and the Law Enforcement Coordination Centers in El Centro, San Diego, and Tucson.27 Most of these intelligence sections, as well as some of the Border Patrol sector intelligence sections, receive additional temporary staff through Joint Task Force Six, which provides military support to Operation Alliance. Border Patrol agents in the field state that these military resources are invaluable assets to the intelligence sections, but are limited in number. The intelligence sections of the Operation Alliance elements are working to collect, analyze, and disseminate drug intelligence. They have developed some helpful products, such as intelligence overviews, that track the larger drug seizures in their areas and along the border. However, these products and the work the intelligence sections have done and can do are limited by the information received. Most of these sections are totally dependent upon the information that Border Patrol stations and sectors provide to them, so they are unaware of any drug interdiction cases Border Patrol does not identify.
The El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) is also dependent on the Border Patrol and other agencies to report drug interdiction information. EPIC was established in 1974 as a multi-agency coordinated intelligence facility under the direction of the DEA. INS is a member agency of EPIC, along with the Customs Service, Coast Guard, FBI, and others. The mission of EPIC is to collect, process, and disseminate intelligence information concerning illicit drug and currency movement, alien smuggling, weapons trafficking and related activities. EPIC maintains an internal database system containing the information that it collects and tracks. Unfortunately, INS does not have an automated drug seizure database to feed directly into EPIC, as the Customs Service does. EPIC maintains information on and tracks only those drug seizures that receive one of its Federal Drug Identification Numbers (FDIN). FDINs are issued to federal agents when they call EPIC and request a number for seizures that meet or exceed preset weight thresholds. Unfortunately, information on drug seizures falling below the threshold is not collected. Additionally, we discovered that there is confusion in the field over what exactly the current weight thresholds are. Agents are also unclear as to which agency calls for an FDIN when drugs are transferred from one agency to another. This uncertainty increases the chance of double counting some of the transferred seizures.
The FDIN is a part of the Federal-wide Drug Seizure System (FDSS). This is a computerized system that EPIC uses to store information on drug seizures made by the DEA, FBI, the Customs Service, and the Border Patrol. Drug seizures made by other federal agencies are only counted when the drug evidence is turned over to one of these four agencies or is acquired in a maritime seizure made by the U.S. Coast Guard. EPIC informed us that it no longer maintains information in the database that attributes seizures to a particular agency in an attempt to reduce competition among the agencies. While the efforts to limit competition are positive, this omission of certain information in the database limits some of the intelligence value for analysis and dissemination. Another limiting factor on the intelligence collected by EPIC is that information on seizures made by state and local officials is only collected when those officials are current members of a federal task force. This means that no intelligence is gathered regarding state and local level drug interdiction operations where a federal task force is not involved. While EPIC is a consolidated intelligence facility, and should not focus specifically on the Border Patrol's intelligence needs, its aforementioned shortcomings do limit the intelligence gathered for the Southwest border as a whole.
While Border Patrol has made strides in the drug interdiction intelligence field, Border Patrol must improve its own collection and reporting efforts. When the Border Patrol stations and sectors do not question suspects, or receive information from DEA's questioning, and do not maintain fingerprints and other data on the suspects, there is less information to provide to the intelligence sections, and therefore less information for them to synthesize and analyze. An awareness and collective effort on the part of the Border Patrol is needed to ensure that as much intelligence information as possible is gathered and shared with the intelligence sections who need the information to develop predictive interdiction intelligence. As a part of this concerted effort, if Border Patrol agents documented the answers to additional questions in the narrative section of the I-44, including where the aliens crossed the border, their route and destination, this information, combined with the fingerprint information, could be used to identify drug smugglers and smuggling trends.
10 Title 8, United States Code, Section 1182, Excludable Aliens, provides a 5-year bar on the admission of deported aliens generally, and a 20-year bar on the reentry of deported aliens who have been convicted of an aggravated felony. Section 1326, Reentry of Deported Alien, provides a penalty of imprisonment for not more than 2 years for the illegal reentry or attempted reentry of a deported alien and up to 20 years for certain deported criminal aliens.
11 The prosecutorial threshold for drug cases refers to the minimum quantity of drugs necessary before a case will be prosecuted. Thresholds will vary by type of drug and may vary from one jurisdiction to another based upon caseloads and other practical considerations.
12 An LPR is deportable only after conviction for an aggravated felony. All other aliens who are legally present in the United States are deportable upon conviction of a drug offense, even a misdemeanor, with the only exception being a first time offense of less than 30 grams of marijuana for personal use.
13 The IDENT Lookout database is designed to contain digitized right and left index fingerprints scanned from the 10-print fingerprint cards and photographs of deported and criminal aliens. This database is discussed in further detail in our report number I-98-10, "Review of the Immigration and Naturalization Service's Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT)."
14 A case may be administratively closed if there is insufficient evidence linking the alien to the drugs; if an illegal alien is legalized during the process, and therefore, cannot be deported; and if there is a significant period of inactivity on a case.
15 These include 71 LPRs and 203 other aliens whose names were obtained from the I-44s, as well as 111 illegal aliens voluntarily returned whose names did not appear on the I-44s, but who were categorized as deportable aliens with case resolution. There is not a one to one ratio between aliens and cases. These 385 aliens do not correlate to 385 drug seizure cases. There were a total of 155 drug seizure cases with alien suspects at both the checkpoints and border operations, as well as 21 cases with alien suspects in which the Border Patrol assisted another agency.
16 Based on our review of the I-44s in our case sample, it appears that approximately 58 percent of the aliens in drug seizure cases, or 225 of the 385 aliens, were accepted by the receiving agency to be referred for prosecution on the drug charges. The I-44s do not all explicitly state if the suspects involved were referred for prosecution and it is not evident from looking at INS records exactly which aliens were ultimately prosecuted for drug charges. DEA or another receiving agency in conjunction with the federal and state prosecutors make the decisions to refer the cases for prosecution of the drug charges, in all the cases in our case sample the Border Patrol made the proper contacts to initiate referral for prosecution.
17 DACS listed 84 of the 91 deported aliens as being deported citing a date when they left the country. At the time of follow-up work, we were not able to determine whether the other seven had actually left the country.
18 Five individuals in our sample were referred to as having been granted voluntary departure as opposed to voluntary return. Voluntary return and voluntary departure tend to be used interchangeably by INS to refer to the returning of illegal aliens to their home country with no sanction for illegal entry. In our case sample, the illegal aliens who were voluntarily returned were not entered into any databases, indicating the completion of little or possibly no immigration paperwork. However, there were five illegal aliens in our sample who were listed in INS' Deportable Alien Control System (DACS), as having been granted a voluntary departure, indicating the completion of some immigration processing. Upon further checks with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, two of those individuals were granted a voluntary departure by an Immigration Judge, while there is no record of the other three having seen an Immigration Judge. Based on this it would appear that those three individuals, while entered into DACS with voluntary departure dates, were actually given a voluntary return by INS.
19 Title 8, United States Code, Section 1229c, Voluntary Departure, specifically prohibits granting voluntary departure to aliens previously convicted of aggravated felonies.
20 INS Standard Operating Procedures For Enforcement Officers: Arrest, Detention, Processing and Removal.
21 Public Law 104-208, the Illegal Immigration and Reform Act of 1996, provides for expedited removal proceedings for certain arriving aliens and aliens who entered without inspections (EWIs) and who have been physically present in the United States for less than 2 years. This expedited process is administered entirely by INS enforcement officers rather than immigration judges. INS has chosen not to apply expedited removal to EWIs at this time but could do so by publication of a notice in the Federal Register.
22 Operation Alliance's Southwest border drug control strategy recognizes that most law enforcement agencies emphasize gathering intelligence that supports investigations and prosecutions, while intelligence of value for interdiction purposes is more predictive and tactical in nature. Operation Alliance's strategy recommends increasing the collection, analysis, and dissemination of predictive interdiction intelligence.
23 Suspect fingerprints that the Border Patrol furnishes to receiving agencies are provided DEA fingerprint cards and are currently taken manually. These DEA ten-print fingerprint cards are separate and distinct from the live scan, digitized right and left index fingerprints taken and entered into the IDENT recidivist database. Entry into the recidivist portion of the IDENT database does not ensure that the prints will be provided to other federal agencies or entered into the IDENT Lookout portion of the database.
24 Our case sample was taken from FY 1996, although our crosschecks were done in FY 1997 and some of the individuals did not have final case disposition until FY 1997, or later. INS officials informed us that they are making progress in entering deported aliens into the IDENT Lookout database, although we have not independently tested and verified that information. Additionally, based on recommendations in our previously cited IDENT report, INS is developing and implementing various plans with regard to IDENT, including the convening of a fingerprint working group to develop criteria for entering fingerprints into the IDENT Lookout database.
25 The previously cited IDENT report includes the recommendation that the Commissioner "Amend the existing INS Servicewide Fingerprint Policy to establish explicit procedures and criteria for placing individuals in the IDENT Lookout database."
26 As discussed in our previously cited IDENT report, the San Diego Border Patrol sector's Coyote Program used a similar analysis to identify alien smugglers. By analyzing IDENT data to determine which aliens had been apprehended repeatedly, each time with new and different groups of aliens, the Border Patrol identified 1,300 suspected smugglers and guides and entered these individuals into a special database.
27 The general mission of most of these organizations is to coordinate and support multi-agency counter-drug interdiction operations and drug demand reduction activities being conducted in their locations. The Border Patrol is involved in all of these organizations in conjunction with other federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Defense or National Guard units.