EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — James Carroll, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, was on the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday where drug seizures are up for the year.
Drug seizures are up by 17 percent from January to June, compared to this time last year, according to the Office of the National Drug Control Policy.
“One thing that we know is these traffickers don’t care that there is a pandemic; in fact they’re preying on it,” he said. “They think that we are vulnerable, and I’m here to tell you that we are not vulnerable.”
Carroll said seizures are up in part to the border being restricted to essential travel only.
“With the reduced travel, the men and women at our border are able to spend more time with each vehicle and find out exactly who is coming into our country and what they’re bringing,” Carroll said.
Carroll met with El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen on Wednesday. One of the goal of today’s visit was to see what is needed locally to prevent drugs from coming in, but also to determine how to help people struggling with addiction.
“Prevention issues, treatment issues and funding opportunities — and that’s clearly something the mayor cares about,” Carroll said.
Carroll spoke about a resource available to people in the Borderland called the Rural Community Tool Box, a federal resource that aids with funding and access to treatment for people struggling with addiction.
“There has been a heightened use of alcohol and drugs and concerns about that,” said Margo, adding that he asked Carroll about funding for body cameras for law enforcement, too.
“We need well over 500 for our police force to have out there, and I think it’s the future,” Margo said. “But we need some help financially, especially when you’re dealing with a pandemic that has had an impact on our budget.”
Carroll said his goal is to make sure that more of the tax dollars that are going to DC are coming right back here to El Paso.
After meeting with the mayor and police chief, Carroll toured the border fence.