Senator Feinstein Expresses Concern that Mexican Cross-Border Marijuana Courier Cases Are Not Being Adequately Prosecuted
- Calls on Attorney General Mukasey and DHS Secretary Chertoff to intensify efforts to prosecute cases of couriers who transport marijuana across the US-Mexico border -
Mar 27 2008
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today expressed concern that Mexican cross-border marijuana courier cases are not being adequately prosecuted.
Senator Feinstein met recently with Mexico Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora and was told that cartel-affiliated marijuana couriers that are detained at the United States-Mexico border while transporting substantial amounts of marijuana, are regularly being released by United States law enforcement.
Senator Feinstein called on Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to look into this matter and intensity efforts to prosecute marijuana courier cases.
“Letting the cartel’s marijuana couriers evade prosecution is completely unacceptable. Instead of releasing the cartel’s marijuana couriers, the United States should take the lead in prosecuting them,” Senator Feinstein wrote in a letter to Attorney General Mukasey and Secretary Chertoff. “At a minimum, they should be transferred directly to Mexican authorities. Attorney-General Medina-Mora has personally assured me that Mexico stands ready to pursue these prosecutions.
Following is the text of the letter sent by Senator Feinstein to Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Secretary Chertoff:
March 26, 2008
The Honorable Michael Mukasey
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530
The Honorable Michael Chertoff
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
I write to express my concerns about allegations of a lack of United States prosecutorial efforts aimed at Mexican marijuana couriers who are detained by federal law enforcement agents on the United States-Mexico border.
After meeting recently with Mexico Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora, I was appalled to learn that cartel affiliated marijuana couriers, who are detained while transporting substantial amounts of marijuana, are regularly being released by United States law enforcement. Seizure of these marijuana loads, combined with arrest and prosecution of the marijuana couriers, is the only acceptable way to deal with these drug smugglers.
The United States should be aggressively prosecuting these drug runners. In this regard, I would like to ask the following questions: Are these cases being referred to federal prosecutors in California for prosecution? If United States prosecutors are refusing to prosecute these cases, why are these drug runners not being transferred to the custody of Mexican law enforcement for prosecution?
Letting the cartel’s marijuana couriers evade prosecution is completely unacceptable. Instead of releasing the cartel’s marijuana couriers, the United States should take the lead in prosecuting them. At a minimum, they should be transferred directly to Mexican authorities. Attorney-General Medina-Mora has personally assured me that Mexico stands ready to pursue these prosecutions.
According to Attorney General Medina-Mora, Mexican cartels break down large shipments of marijuana into smaller bundles and use multiple drug couriers to smuggle the drugs into the United States. It is clear that the cartels know that United States border authorities are not arresting and prosecuting these drug runners and that the cartels are exploiting this to their advantage.
The failure to hold these cartel drug couriers responsible through arrest and prosecution is disturbing and unacceptable. Even in the bundled smaller amounts, these drug couriers are still transporting large quantities of marijuana into the United States. Release of these marijuana couriers sends the wrong message to the Mexican drug cartels, as well as to the American public.
I would appreciate your immediate attention to this issue, and look forward to your responses to my letter.
United States Senator