Report shows skyrocketing of meth seizures at border


The amount methamphetamine seized by U.S. Border Patrol agents in the San Diego sector skyrocketed in fiscal 2009, while the number of illegal immigrants caught dropped 27 percent, federal officials said Wednesday.

Agents covering the 60 miles of border with Mexico caught 118,721 undocumented people between Oct. 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2009, according to the Border Patrol.

The extension of fences along the border, including the completion of fencing and roads in Smuggler’s Gulch, contributed to the decline, officials said.

The amount methamphetamine seized increased 741 percent to about 394 pounds, according to the agency.

Other statistics released Wednesday included:

— a 173 percent increase in seized heroin, to 37 pounds;

— a 153 percent increase in cocaine seized, to 1,771 pounds;

— a 45 percent decrease in the amount of marijuana seized, to 26,778 pounds;

— and a 33 percent drop in the number of assaults on agents, to 252 incidents.

The assaults included the July 23 fatal shooting of Agent Robert W. Rosas Jr. near Campo. Christian Daniel Castro-Alvarez, 17, pleaded guilty to murder in federal court last week.

Prosecutors said the defendant, who faces life in prison, lured Rosas out of his vehicle with the intention of robbing him. The agent was shot multiple times during a struggle.

“These impressive achievements are the direct results of the brave men and women in uniform honorably serving and courageously confronting alien and drug smugglers in dangerous and diverse terrain, on hazardous roadways, and at unpredictable checkpoints,” said Michael Fisher, chief patrol agent of the San Diego sector. “We cannot forget the inherent dangers of the job nor ever forget the ultimate sacrifice that Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas made to his country.”