Skip to main content

tv   Senate Judiciary Hearing on Drug Cartels Border Security  CSPAN  December 17, 2018 9:34pm-10:54pm EST

9:34 pm
>> the senate judiciary subcommittee heard from homeland security officials including the border patrol. this is two and a half hours.
9:35 pm
>> the transnational cartels and border security today's hearing will provide an opportunity to look beyond the borders and examine the larger problems contributing to the crisis along the borders. if you watch the news recently and can see how serious the crisis has become back in the is timely and thousands of unaccompanied minors in the rio grande valley sector president obama called a humanitarian crisis and i think i would also describe what is happening today in and around tijuana and we will hear more about that but as we noted thousands of central
9:36 pm
american migrants playing at the southern border trying to enter the united states. this is not a new phenomena. regardless of which party's control republican or democrat we've dealt with sudden influx us for decades to. in the 1980s it was the qb and the left and in th of the 1990se cuban and haitian influx and in 2014 we saw unaccompanied minors from central america. improving border security doesn't mean just improving physical security along the borders. it also means addressing the problems that bring them here in the first place. the mass movement of the migrants is only a of a greater problem one i hope that we will discuss in detail today. one of the greatest threats is the trafficking of persons and
9:37 pm
illicit goods into the united states. there is the single point of origin for those crimes and we see this stemming from around the world. the proceeds from the drug sales are with approximately 64 billion dollars annually it's lining the pockets of crawls and cartels. in short they are winning notwithstanding the law enforcement they will stop at
9:38 pm
nothing to ensure the business remains intact and profitable. they are adaptive and evils and use every tactic in the book to further their enterprises. we are battling the enemies that are on the move as commodity agnostic they really don't care as long as they don't make money and they don't care what the consequences of the criminal enterprise are.
9:39 pm
they spread terror and they are taking control over large parts of mexico and several countries we see them headed towards the southern border to smuggle migrants and safely cross the border in exchange for money but the witnesses can attest a safe journey is anything but. i've seen it time and time again they have no respect for human life it's not just people who die at their hands while attempting to enter the united states illegally but the part to import into the country. the opioid crisis is being further fueled by the narcotics being smuggled by these organizations.
9:40 pm
a synthetic opioid is one of the deadliest drugs in the world and his men manufactured in china and smuggled into the united states by these organizations. the growing influence of cartels and transnational criminal organizations has led to global and regional insecurities and there is a need for increased security cooperation to be sure. the war on drugs is one that affects all of us and it's time that we pick up the pace and deal with it in a focused and hopefully successful way. it doesn't begin or end at our borders. but for our purposes focused
9:41 pm
primarily on the countries to the south but certainly the avenues available into the united states can be exploited by anybody that has the money or the world trade center into the united states illegally. and to their sordid business i look forward to hearing from the witnesses about the scope of the problems and i think one of the biggest challenges we have is a lack of public awareness before turning to the senator for his opening remarks i ask unanimous consent that the senators openings to attend the hearing
9:42 pm
be included in the record which it will be without objection. let me say to you into the witnesses my apologies for coming up a few minutes late i was on the floor for the farewell address. the subject to the hearing and threats to the united states posed by the mexican drug cartels ten years ago at this hearing and more a quarter of the justice department report concluded mexican drug cartels are the greatest organized crime threat to the united states, so here we are ten years later and how are we doing? the 2018 national drug threat assessment concluded mexican
9:43 pm
drug cartels remain the greatest threats to the united states. i closed my hearing by saying we must take action to reduce the demand for the drugs in the united states and stand the flow of illegal guns and money into mexico. democrats and republicans worked together to find bipartisan commonsense solutions. now today ten years later in the midst of a drug epidemic they killed 2,000 people. the drug epidemic we face is fed to all. 28,466 overdoses involving fentanyl an increase of more than 45% over the previous year.
9:44 pm
the cartels transport through legal ports of entry yesterday we had a hearing in the same room with the commissioner will be directly in october of 27 207 that his top priority was to secure the border with more drive through inspection systems which he characterized as the portals and when i asked what he needed to keep narcotics out he said technology and personnel. they examined 98% of those
9:45 pm
passing into the united states by the late 18% of the cargo passenger vehicles i vehicles ie containers provide. 98% of the others yet the president's budget request included only $44 million for the system and i asked yesterday what would it take and what do you need to put the system in that basically skip the vehicles as they come through to detect drugs and people being smuggled to drug trafficking, human trafficking. it didn't ask for funding for the customs officers even though we need more officers to detect drugs at the ports of entry and international mail. it was six months ago i got off
9:46 pm
the plane heading into chicago in the state out there in a postal facility to look at how we monitor the mail coming into the united states to try to detect drugs that are being sent by mail and it happens every day. it's a good system but that's not what it should be and people will tell you that. but a lot of them are not caught. what the president is telling us now is we have to shut down the government. if he doesn't get $5 billion for a wasteful ineffective border wall, we need other drug technologies to solve the problem importing plays admits killing our kids, not a medieval solution from sea to shining sea. this is a circle they are not just exporting drugs into the united states. we are exporting drugs and launder drug money to mexico.
9:47 pm
what are we givin doing to stopm from the united states that harms the cartels to the t. in 2016 the gao found 70% of crime guns seized in mexico traced through the crying gun chasing program came from the united states. according to the gao most were purchased illegally at gun shows in the united states and then trafficked illegally to mexico. the federal agencies with jurisdiction over the southern flow of god were atf which enforces federal gun laws and i.c.e.. it coordinates from the united states to mexico but in 2016 the gao found that there were shortfalls in information
9:48 pm
sharing and an improvement was needed. i will be sending a letter to the general accounting office asking them to update the 2016 report to look at the firearms and i invite my colleagues to join a. customs and border protection play a key role and they found and i quote custom and border protection's outbound mission is to facilitate the movement of legitimate cargo while interdicting the export of weapons and other contraband out of the united states. however in 2017, the cbp spokesperson said that outbound inspections were only connected wind resources permit. why on earth does in this administration request more resources for out of the actions to stop the export of deadly firearms from the united states to the mexican cartels? one thing congress can do with is prohibited to purchase a
9:49 pm
handgun trafficking in the federal law. right now the u.s. attorney's office to prosecute those as paperwork by a regulations during my hearing we heard testimony about the smuggling from the united states back to cartels. it's the circle the export. we wonder why they are so powerful according to the latest drug threat assessment and the amount seized has been steadily decreasing over the last eight years. the reports are that large amounts of cash continue to be interdicted among the major corridors with its typically
9:50 pm
concealed and hit him in the compartment or among the legitimate cargo. again there would be strong bipartisan support in congress for more resources for outbound inspections if only the administration put as much priority on this effort as they do on the wall. there's more congress can do in 2013 when democrats controlled the senate we passed bipartisan immigration reform and over 60 senators voted for it no lack of will when it comes to border security. at the port of entry
9:51 pm
infrastructure personnel funding for the biometric entry and exit screening february 15 the bipartisan majority of the senate supported the agreement of the border but failed to reach the 60 votes needed. we have to be honest about the challenges we face and the resources we use to address them and i will work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reform the immigration system and improve security reducing the brutal cartel violence in the smuggling will not be accomplished by the border wall or punishing innocent victims of cartel violence and we are desperately seeking safety in the united states. we have to work to address the drug epidemic in the nation and stop the weapons and cash and collaborate more effectively with the nations to strengthen their economies and to decrease
9:52 pm
violence. thank you mr. chairman. >> i was glad to hear that ten years ago we convened a hearing on the aspects of the same problem i see some common ground for investing in the scanning the devices and customs officers dealing with the straw purchasers of the cash transfers around the border. on the criminal justice reform which i hope is successful but at the same time i know that during the gang of eight immigration bill there were $40 billion appropriated for the border security and the proposal that got 25 billion i'm still confused about the fight over 5 billion but it shouldn't be just about physical barriers
9:53 pm
thaitshould be about technologyd personnel. it's more of a system as i tend to think of it. maybe the chief will enlighten us further. i'm sure she will. it's my pleasure to introduce witnesses for the first panel. mr. chester is the assistant director of the opioid coordination group and the office of national drug control policy and before coming to the omd cp, mr. chester was a senior director for national security and intelligence and private-sector consulting firm in washington, d.c.. before that, completed 27 years of service in the united dates barney ending the service as deputy director for the regional center and the chief of the office of the counter narcotics worldwide. janice ayala is the director for the joint task force for u.s. immigration and customs enforcement. prior to the current position, and is ayala served on the task
9:54 pm
force west and served as a special agent in charge for the i.c.e. homeland security investigations in my hometown of san antonio texas and i.c.e. headquarters is the director of domestic operations and as the assistant director for domestic operations, ms. ayala oversaw the effort within 7,000 hsi agents assigned to 26 offices throughout the united states including investigative matters related to national security, money laundering, bold and drug cash smuggling i smuggling and n bungling antitrafficking. the third witnesses familiar to the committee, she's been here before, is carla provost. before her current position, chief provost served a number of positions including field operations supervisor in the tucson sector and chief patrol for the sector, deputy chief
9:55 pm
patrol agent of the el paso sector and assistant chief patrol agent for the yuma sector. mr. knierim served as a special agent in the denver field position and was also assigned to the ecuador country office. i would like each of you to provide us with your opening statement. we know we have a written document so these don't feel necessary to read from that or repeat that that will be made part of the record the testimony
9:56 pm
given to the committee will be the truth, the full truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god. thank you for inviting the office of national drug control policy here to discuss the threat posed by the united states by mexican criminal organizations and the us-mexico cooperation to address drug policy issues in both countries. february 9, 2017, president of trump signed an executive order stating the transnational criminal organizations including drug cartels represent a threat
9:57 pm
to the safety of the united states and its citizens to expand into mexico and u.s. markets. in 2017 mexican cartels cultivated 44,100 sectors of opium poppy and produced the metric tons of pure heroin in mexico smuggling the majority to the united states increasingly mexican cartels are pressing sentinel and clandestinely produced in china into the fake prescription pills and smuggling them across the southwest border. they also produce the majority of the methamphetamine consumed in the united states and they facilitate columbian cartel trafficking of cocaine which is
9:58 pm
also increasingly affecting our communities. the two previous mexican presidential administrations attempted to confront the internal security threat presented by the cartels in their own ways. however, despite mexico's best to efforts, they've exploited vulnerabilities. it amounts to less than 1% of mexico's annual budget. they currently viewed this as a shared responsibility. they engage directly with the government of mexico and as a participant in the high-level bilateral meetings including the security cooperation group and
9:59 pm
higher-level disrupting the criminal organizations. moreover, the trilateral north american drug dialogue chaired in the department of state brings together the governments of the united states, mexico and canada to expand counter drug cooperation in north america and allows all three countries to cooperate closely on the thread throughout the continent. they work with their counterparts with the government of mexico focused on three primary goals. to complete a monitoring system of illicit crops in mexico program ended in conjunction with drugs and crime to develop a shared understanding of the opium yield in mexico. this will be the first crops to bcropstudy completed in more th5 years. second, to complete the program funded by the state department bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs that provides a legitimate technical validation of mexico's eradication process
10:00 pm
and third, to use the programs to establish the mexico poppy eradication program is shared eradication goal ended a joint strategy for intelligence in mexico. on december 1, president andré s. was inaugurated as the president vowing to fight corruption and develop a new vision to impose the internal security. a few weeks prior to his inauguration, he presented his national peace and security plans to address the security concerns in mexico and one of the plans eight pillars is to develop a narcotics strategy although specific details of the strategy were not presented, we expect it will contain concrete and deliberate measures to directly address the cartel problem that affects both our countries and we stand ready to continue our close and productive relationship with the new administration in this
10:01 pm
endeavor. in closing, the dynamic nature of the marketplace controlled by mexican cartels demand the united states continue to engage with mexico to prevent the ongoing proliferation of illicit drugs that originate from or transit through mexico. .. in our comeujts. the american people should expect nothing less from us. thank you for the opportunity to testify today and i'll be happy to answer your questions. >> thank you mr. chester. >> janis: thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. u.s. immigrations custments enforcement enforces laws trade and immigration to promote homeland security.
10:02 pm
primary director of homeland investigations enforcement removal operations and principle legal advisers employs more than 220 employees. today i will provide isis perspective on the challenges we face the sophisticated smuggling threats in our border and some of what we do to address the problems before the contraband enters our borders. i am an hsi assistant director serving as director of joint task force investigations for department of homeland security. in 2014, johnson comprehensive security strategy drs components and commission free task forceses. jtf investigations. east and west are geographically foached on the u.s. southernland and maritime borders and approaches. jtfi is responsible for enhancing and integrating
10:03 pm
prioritized criminal investigations. to accomplish this jdhs-wide nomination selection process for homeland criminal organize targets, are the top transnational criminal networks impacting homeland security and coordinatesser coordinates dozens of investigations and operations to a national case management. isis is the exect gently t which is 70 interagency officers and analysts. as the largest investigative component, hsi conducts multi-fallsed t law enforcement investigations to combat tcoic ' the primary tco on our southwest border are our mexican drug cartels, and attacking cartel leadership. thee are highly networked and adept daily based on tell us of u.s. border security and law enforcement activities.
10:04 pm
cartels conduct stets globally, and transfer them by smuggling, funnel accounts, professional money launders, cryptocurrency and the 34eusue of money system, and cartels exploit vunlts in u.s. and mexican financial systems and conduct lay ferred financial transitions to circulate regulatory scrutiny. the u.s. government has refined our -- through interagency investigations capacity building, financial sanctions and direct engagement with at-risk financial institutions and jurisdictions. cartels utilize transnational ganz. in 2005, hsic i established community shield a law enforcement initiative to combat the growth of transnational street prison and outlawed motor vehicle ganz. in 2012hsi worked with foreign asset control to demonstrate
10:05 pm
ms13 as a tco. we have assigned 1500 agents, and 150 research specials to southwest border offices. and since 2005, to continue two border tunnel -- border security and national security. hsi led a comprised of more than 180 federal, state, local tribal, and law enforcement agencies. due to their success the -- about that point of order and security task force was signed into law in 2012. mexico is proven to be a partner in fight against tco emphasis our -- office in mexico city, utilize hsi criminal investigative units which are tsi trained counter participates and enforce violations law in their respective countries. these efforts are from thousands of miles from u.s. mexico border in countries like columbia and
10:06 pm
panama act like a border of security. hsi investigations led to 43,000 criminal -- which is an all-time high in 2013. it include the arrests of national gang members, seizure of a million pounds of narcotics, and violations of export laws and seized 1.2 monetary instrument. we identified and assisted 300 trafficking victims. thank you for your committed support to dhs-ice and own admissions and your interest in these important issues and i'll be pleased to and any questions you may have. >> chief provo. >> chairman cornyn, ranking member deserven, this saturday december 15th marks eight years since u.s. border patrol agent brian terry was murdered during a gun fight in southern
10:07 pm
arizona. these rip crews patrol our border with mexico looking for opportunities to rob illegal aliens and other drug smugglers. agent terry was a vicinitier veteran, a former police officer, and served with the border patrol for 3 and a half years. his murder was a great loss for our agency and illustrates the dangers presented by cartels and their associates. cartels and other transnational criminal on the groundses or tco, are a threat to national security and public safety. tco's maintain a diverse porphof criminal activity, human trafficking, kidnapping and exorgz. they are heavily involved in all kinds of smuggling, moving people, weapons, cash and drugs through sophisticated criminal networks. in fiscal 2018, the border patrol seized $7 million in curaints, 7,000 pounds of
10:08 pm
cocaine and heroine, methamphetamine seizures have increased 75% since fiscal year '15, and we have seen a 115 percent increases in fentanyl seizures between the ports this last year. tco's maintain influence over gangs to expand their droax distribution process. this means tco's not only presenten a threat at our borders through criminal networks and alliances they present a threat to the interior of our country as well. although not all gang members are afitiated with cartels the border patrol appreended more than 800 gang members a 50% increase over the previous year. this is in addition to the nearly 6700 aliens we 57 reended last year who have criminal history, theft, drug, weapon trafficking and violent crimes. tco's conduct our operations without regard for human life,
10:09 pm
money and power or their only motivation. these networks are commodity ag naisic they move people with no more care than drugs or bundles of drugs. desperately aliens are at risk of being beaten, assaulted, raped and even killed on their journey to our border. tco's are motivated and they are ruthless. they may operate as businesses but they do not play by the rules of law and they are not bound by the bureaucratic impeddents we sometimes face in government. they will stop at nothing to gain profit. they are agile and adaptable, willing to spend countless resources to maintain and expand control of their criminal enterprises. to address the threat we must have a united comprehensive strategy and an aggressive approach across all levels of government. cbp must continue to work in conjunction with law enforcement partners including my colleagues
10:10 pm
represented on this page today. to introduct illegal aliens, drugs, cash and weapons at the border. this is a key component of u.s. border security and by extension our national security. thanks to the support of congress and the past decade the department of homeland security has deployed more personnel, technology, and tactical infrastructure than at any other time in our history. as tco's continue to exploit the border for their own financial gains we must continue investigate in all of these tools in the highest priority areas long along the border. today we have begun upgreat old vehicle barriers to impede the drug running areas. we have prioritized high traffic for deployment of new barriers, the latest technology and additional personnel. we stand readily to execute and look forward to working with congress on these priorities.
10:11 pm
my men and women on the front line are facing the threat every day. it is my honor to represent them in their effects to make our country safer, by bravely combating cartels and other tco threats. when border patrol agents reports to work they have no way of knowing what they may inventory. a family lost in the dessert, or a cartel rip crew armed with fully automatic weapons. the job is unpredictable, and demanding. but when they are stopping criminals and narcotics or saving lives the men and women of the border patrol are well-trained and effective guardians of america's frontline. i thank you for your time and look forward to your question said. >> thank you chief. there is a vote on in the senate, and so senator durbin has gone to go vote, and turn the gavel to senator cruz and we'll be back shortly.
10:12 pm
>> good morning. it's an honor to appear before you today to discuss mexican cartels, the extent of their efforts to manufacture, transport, and distribute illicit narcotics in the united states and our efforts to combat the threat. i have have had the privilege of being a da special agent since 1991. when i look back at the 20 years of experience the cartels worry me now more than ever. dangerous and highly sophisticated transnational cartels operating in both incomes and the united states have been and will continue to be the source of narcotics traffic inside the united states. whether it's heroine and synthetic opioids, methamphetamine, or cocaine the mexican cartels are the primary sours of illicit drugs on the street. the most disturbing aspect of these cartels is a confluence of
10:13 pm
three things. the drug threat, and the cartels attempts to expand their profits by intentionally mixing fentanyl and subs with heroine, counterfeit prescription drugs and other illicit drugs with cocaine and methan phetamine. this is done for one simple reason. greed. this is a national threat, a public health emergency fueled by fentanyl, which is cheap to make, hard to detect and dangerously potent. chinese and mexican nationals are increasingly operating in alignment responsible for the proliferation of heroine, fentanyl and related synthetics coming across the southwest border. coupled with the fact that a keel o gram of fentanyl can be purchased, potential profits from the kill o gram can exceed -- on the surface of thousands of individuals to generate profit. aside from the proliferation of
10:14 pm
heroine and methamphetamines they continue 250 if transport at an alarming rating. we cannot afford to lose focus on cocaine and methamphetamine. the cartels are responsible for the recorder production of methamphetamine entering the united states. recent increased in cocaine production are particularly troubling and likely foreshadows a increase of importation abuse and overdose deaths in the u.s. from these as well. the mexican cartels, will continue to be the primary networks operating in more than one country to plan and execute their criminal enterprise. these mexical cartels do not observe boundaries or laws in mexico, the united states, or
10:15 pm
any other country. as you know in 2016, mexico extradited -- to the united states and just recently his trial ensued in the district of new york. we've heard one of elchop eo's lawsuits testify, lucrative, cruel and ruthless operations. the details of his testimony further highlight the ability of the cartels to influence legitimate professionals such as accountens, attorneys, bankers and real estate brokers who cross both illicit worlds and provide services to little bit customers and criminals across the globe. this is why we partner with my colleagues at the table before you today as well as with our state, local, tribal and international law enforcement partners, especially mexico. let me also briefly mention my gratitude as well as that of to our mexican law enforcement, military counterparts with whom
10:16 pm
we are partnered and made the ultimately sacrifice. our shared goal of protecting citizens from harm and keeping these destructive substances out of the societies is what unites us in partnership. this leads me to what da is doing to counter the threat. we recognition this will take print efforts to include interagency and global partnerships. for decades we have maintained a worldwide presence to address the source or depression and in this case we have a robust presence and critical partnership in mexico. in mexico, dea continues to synchronize and expand capabilities to combat the growing epidemic. we have developed a bilateral intelligence sharing coordinator investigations training, increased sharing of forensic information, and the control of precursor chemicals. we participate in the north american drug dialogue with federal governments of mexico, canada, and the u.s. that focuses on building a strategy to misuse of illicit narcotics
10:17 pm
in north america. defeating mexican cartels and the opioid epidemic will require a community effort at every level, state, local, federal, and dedicated international partners such as mexico. da will pursue trafficking and illicit drugs. targeting the most prolific and dangerous drug taskers is a evolving mission and with it comes myriad challenges. throughout our history, the da has met the challenges and produced impressive results. we look forward to continuing to work with you and your senate colleagues to identify the resources and theaters enters to complete our mission. thank you for the opportunity to testify, before the committee on this important issue and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you sir let me say thank you to each of the witnesses thank you for your service. each of you works on an incredibly difficult and important job and we are grateful for the hard work you put in.
10:18 pm
mr. chester, let's talk about fentanyl for a minute. fentanyl is killing americans each and every day. can you tell this committee where it comes from, and how it makes its way into the united states. >> kemp: yes, senator, and you're absolutely correct. what we have seen really over the last two plus years in the united states is the rise in the prevalence and the leadingality of fentanyl in u.s. communities to the point it has outpaced heroine and other drugs in terms of mortality in the united states. the fentanyl in the united states is manufactured in china. it is not only the base fentanyl molecule itself but there are -- we have cbp has encountered 33 different an logs of the fentanyl molecule produced in chine and shipped into the united states. there are two primary routes. the first is individuals who get
10:19 pm
on the internet, usually on the dark web using cryptocurrency, purchase it for themselves or for distribution to a small number of known userses and that generally comes in the country through the u.s. mail system or express consignment carriers who are commercial carriers. >> what quantity are we talking about? >> very small quantities senator, so you're really talking about 6-700, 800 grams. and because of the potency it's purchased as a small dollar amount. it's in a small package, and it's at a dollar figure that doesn't raise a lot of suspicion. that's the primary vector in the united states. the second is up through mexico where finished fentanyl is purchased in china, sent to mexico, and then either shipped as part of a poly-drug load mixed in and milled with heroine or inert matter like lactose
10:20 pm
south of the border and brought up and sold as synthetic heroine or the third way pressed into pills and sold as fake prescription opioids and brought in large numbers of pills across the southwest border. so there are several different vectors for the t to get into the united states. we can clearly see the public health effects that it has in the united states, and fentanyl in its an logs will continue to be a substantial problem in our drug environment in america. >> how many deaths are we looking at at an annual basis from fentanyl. >> >> kemp: in 2017 was 28,400 deaths or 9 per day. that is what's termed by the centers of disease control is synthetic opioids other than methadone which is dominated by fentanyl and its an logs, and that is a 47% increase from the previous year. >> what's the role of the
10:21 pm
mexican drug cartels and bringing fentanyl into this country? congressmen principally. >> kemp: their role is to purchase it from mexico, and process it in mexico and bring it into the united states -- through their own distribution change and to a face-to-face sale in the united states. one of the things that makes fentanyl so attractive for drug cartels is the low upfront price and the high profits on the far end. that is whether it is mixed into heroine and purchased by an interconvenience drug user by a known drug user or whether it is sold as a fake pill who believes they are getting oxycontin and fentanyl analogue. >> do we have an assessment of how much the cartels are making from this trafficking.
10:22 pm
>> kemp: trafficking as a whole in. >> let's take fentanyl or other. >> kemp: overall, i believe it was senator cornyn who quoted the price of $64 billion today and that's absolutely within the realm of the possible. $64 billion, the drugs continue to be the most lucrative and reliable source of income for transnational criminal organizes in mexico. >> thank you for your work i have to know a greatmen and women in your agency, and i'm grateful for their service. let me ask you from your preves. what additional tools are needed to slow down or stop this flow of fentanyl and other illegal drugs? >> thank you senator, there are numerous things we need. as you know the border is very dynamic, and there is no one thing that it just seems to be
10:23 pm
that main issue that would stop it. we need between the ports of entry in particular, obviously more technology, more detection technology, we need more men and women, i need more canine handlers sequel, we utilize them, and i do need more barrier that does impede and deny and it does prevent the entries at the ports of entry, there was discussion earlier and my colleagues over there are expanding their non-intrusive technology which we also utilize as aerocheckpoints and stat assists us as well but it is a no one size fits all it is a mixture of all those things. >> one of the tools you mentioned that you needed was more physical barriers be it a wall or other barriers as you know we're in the midst of vigorous debates in the senate. let me ask you in your professional experience. what is the impact of a wall or
10:24 pm
physical barrier and what are the benefits of it? >> carla: personally and to keep it on topic with cartels. whether i was an agent in douglas, arizona, eeses of douglas there was a drive through as we called them, and we had numerous drive through in the area. i was involved in the seizure of 490 pounds of cocaine. thankfully the drive shaft broke as the vehicle was trying to get south away from us. we had no barrier at that time along the border in that area. once we put barrier in that area those drive through stopped. that is just one example when it comes to particularly narcoticser narcotic smuggling, as you know senator, the barriers are needed for impedance and denial. technology provides a completely different capability for us. it provides situational awareness and we certainly need that as well. but if we can't impede and deny
10:25 pm
when we're talking about a 2,000 meanwhile border, and very difficult terrain to work in, then the situational awareness let's me know something's crossing but it sure doesn't stop it from crossing. >> in terms of technology what have you found, being eboo it infrared, fixed wing, rotary wing aircraft, what is the greatest positive impact to allow allow you to do your job. >> carla: it truly depends upon the area. when we are talking about areas with quick vanishing time, camera technologies -- when we work in the remote areas, more detection capability is necessary for us. we have been expanded our tools and tool kit, and have found that having a diverse tool kit is critical for us to be able to deploy the appropriate resources in the appropriate location.
10:26 pm
>> ms. ayalla can you describe the violence perpetrated by the cartels in the united states and mexico? >> janis: i would say that mexican cartels and cartels in general have become more and more violent. they follow a pattern of violence and then when certain federal officials are sent to certain areas then the areas calm down and they're discouraged from violence in order for them to pursue their trafficking activities throughout the border areas, south of the the border. on this side of the border i think we saw a lot of violence as far as in 2005 in the south texas border, and then later on murders, and then what we saw was mostly the purchase of weapons, to smuggle -- to the
10:27 pm
mexico in order to engage in extortion and other assaultive and violent actions and torture on the mexican side. what we see is a cartels are using ms13 and other gang members for kidnapping extortion, and other violent crimes. and that fall under the statutes. >> why is that crossing north to the border into the united states. >> carla: when we're talking about the gang piece, to put in perspective we have about 100,000ms13 gang members in the northern tracking, and more than half of them are in -- sathousand in jail, 30,000 on the street, we have 10,000 gang members here, in the united states, and through our operation community shield, last
10:28 pm
5 or 6 years we picked up over 8500ms13 members, associates and seized multi-quantities of drugs, and weapons, and other implements. ammunition and so forth. >> thank you senator crus for following that while we were voting. >> so let me ask each of you, or anybody who has an answer. but not that long ago to united states government decided we needed to do something to help the government of columbia deal with the narco-traffickers, and cocaine in particular that was coming up into the united states, deal with things like cocoa eradication, and provide equipment and training for the
10:29 pm
government of columbia. i was in columbia about four months ago and while things aren't perfect, they are far, far better, and i think most people who have paid attention would say plan columbia was a success. nothing's 100 percent successful, and the -- many challenges remain. president dukaei has made a commitment to more eradication than his predecessor had. do we need a plan central america, or plan columbia or something like that mr. chester. >> kemp: yes sir, i can start off. other members can add. you're right on the successive plan of columbia. i think playing columbia combind two things. the first was the physical eradication of coca manually and
10:30 pm
airially. that was important going to the manifestation of the problem. it built the capacity of the clum beben forces to deal with the problem on the ground. what we have in mexico is the mayorten initiative. and the mayorten initiative has been the primary vehicle in itsmered administered by the department of state with its four pillars to build capacity, and go after transnational organized crime. since its inception the initiative funding has been $1.3 billion to the government of mexico and made a substantial difference. in mexico's capability to be able to deal with this problem as a partner. a lot of the activities that we have with the government of mexico in terms of the professionalization of the military forces the training and capacity building for their police, all the way to things
10:31 pm
like prison reform, and transitioning to new criminal justice system, and including one of the programs that i mentioned in my opening statement are funded through the initiative and that is a very component what we are doing with mexico. it follows the same model of being able to handle the physical problem on the ground, and build capacity of the forces themselves. >> the rest of you have a comment about that chief? >> just to comment sir. you're exactly right working with our partners in central america is key. we continue to expand our footprint to assist whether it's in this case talking about the cartels and the narcotics that are coming into this country, we rely heavily on our relationships much like we do in mexico it is critical that we do continue to expand our effects in central america as well.
10:32 pm
>> roger: what has been said i think the bilateral relationships and partnerships that we're able to develop and really lead to a joint focus integrated effort to address the threats and things like the initiative and others that bring a coalition together in order to build capacity as well as strengthen those relationships and partnerships so while you're working the investigations on the one hand you're increasing your proscutorial capacity simultaneously, so it does provide a mechanism in order to further strengthen those joint bilateral effects. >> i share your support for the initiative, and i hope we can do more amidst what is pretty gloomy news in terms of how much geography in mexico the cartel is controlled, and the level of violence, in mexican that president lopez said was going to be his top priorities.
10:33 pm
we've seen more people die of violence in mexico since 2007 that have died in the wars of afghanistan and iraq combined. i remember what happened after 9/11 after 3,000 americans died in new york, and washington, d.c. at the pentagon, we went to war against al qaeda and the taliban, but 72,000 -- 70,000 americans have died from drug over dose, all this flood of heroine and methamphetamine coming across the border just doesn't seem like our -- seems like we have become desensitized to the outrage that replacements and the threat it represents to our analysis security. so i know senator feinstein obviously coming from a border state has talked to me about working on something like central american plan. i know president obama under his administration had a plan to support the triangle of
10:34 pm
countries in central america. we need to figure out something more than just sending money. we need to find out what works and that's the reason i mentioned plan columbia. i think there is a lotted of interest on the bright side amidst as i said a gloomy prospect in terms of central america and large parts of mexico. i was encouraged to see what the incoming administration and mexican i happened to be down there for the inauguration of president lopez, and i know that secretary nielsen and others of the administration had been directly negotiating with the incoming administration on how to deal with the asylum issue. mexican has begun issuing work permanents, offering asylum in mexico. many of these individuals want to be reunited with their family in the united states so they're turning that down and saying i'm going to the united states, but the agreement to allow those
10:35 pm
claims to be processed while the applicants remain in mexico represents a change in policy and will provide some level of deterrence perhaps to the efforts many -- come from central america and the into the united states. did you have an opinion on that chief progressivee can you provide color on that? >> carla: our relationship with mexico has been an outstanding relationship, and considering all we are dealing with on our shared border it is critical going forward we continue down that path with the relationship we have our partners in mexico have been doing as much as they can with the limited resources that they have as well, and have been great partners. >> given our history with mexico they're skeptical of the united states as you can imagine. we've taken a substantial piece of mexico and made it texas, and
10:36 pm
other parts of the southwest, and i agree with characterization, you and mr. chester have made this has to be a shared responsibility because i think trying to do this to our friends in mexico or for them will not be well received and so i'm actually encouraged by seeing this very modest step in terms of the asilese, and claims for asylum coming from central america, and i'm hoping with the new administration we can develop those relationships and develop programs we can work on together and would certainly welcome any input, insights advice you might give us in doing that. >> dick: how important is the export of firearms and drug moon from the united states to the mexican cartels to their
10:37 pm
existence? >> carla: the money that is going back into mexico and into the hands of the cartels, is a great concern for us as well as the weapons we do run operations along the border. routinely we do bilateral operations with our partners along the mexicanen border as well as outbound operations to do our best with the resources we have to address the issue. >> dick: how frequently are vehicles traveling southbound checked for illegally exported weapons. >> carla: i would have to defer to my partners of field operations and refer to them. >> dick: is it a priority? >> carla: it is a priority sir. >> dick: if you wings v wins the seizure of weapons if headed down to the border of mexico.
10:38 pm
>> carla: my assistants have seized weapons and money going south. >> dick: you might have heard my earlier testimony, are you flaw with the testimony of z-x- z-x-portals. >> carla: it is a non-intrusive technology that supports our ability to inspect vehicles and cogger o that are coming through the ports of entry and checkpoints. >> dick: it's a x-ray or scanning devices non-intrusive. >> carla: that has helped with seizures, the technology is one capability that we -- or one resource that we utilize in our tool kit to support our effects as we do our best to address the issue of all of the narcotics coming across the border. >> dick: are you troubled with the fact that fewer than one in
10:39 pm
five vehicles are subject to that time type of scanning as they head north. >> carla: i can't speak to the number that come to our entry, i would have to take that back to the officers in field operations, i know they continue to expand the amount of technology that they are deploying at the ports of entry and continue to request that technology. >> dick: you refer to your field people if they can tell us their numbers we have 18% of vehicles searched by this nonintrusive scanning device, and a request from at least -- last year if that was his highest priority, that's why we included it in our bill. my guess is the vehicles headed southbound, even fewer being scanned for weapons, heading down to the united states from the mexican cartels, i'd like you to produce on z-portals being used for those exporting
10:40 pm
weapons and contraband from the united states to the cartels. and mr. cuknierim, you had testimony here that you said in your testimony, seizures of smuggled bulk cash decreases from $437 million in 2016, to 193 million in 2017. that means the smuggled bulk cash which we assume is somehow associated with drug trafficking decreased by 56%. you also say that the gross amount of bulk cash seized as steadily decreased since 2010. to what do you attribute this decrease and is it possible that it's a sign that the cartels have found more sophisticated way to launder their money. >> kemp: one thing i would like to highlight are the significant
10:41 pm
efforts that are being taken to investigate money laundering and the transfer of illicit proceeds. there are many different tactics and techniques the cartels use and we likewise are available to utilize several investigative tools. i think there are obviously a lot of efforts being made to continue to identify the bulk currency that is being moved south. we also recognize that there are additional technologies and virtual currencies that are being implemented by some of the trafficking organizes in particular as it's going forward. >> the point i want to get to is the one i opened up with. what i described scanning the vehicles as they're coming into the united states, 18% are being scanned. scanning the vehicles that are heading south from the united states with weapons, contraband, money, having the means to deal with the technology by which they are now transferring this
10:42 pm
laundered drug money back into the cartels to make the next round of narcotics and to strengthen themselves has nothing to do with a wall. nothing to do with a wall. sign me up for more money to address the things i've just described to you. don't sign me up for a $5 billion weul that was supposed to be paid for by mexico. and if i could ask one more question. >> i was wondering if i could address the last question as far as techniques. while tco's continue to use utilizing funnel accounts, corroborate banking and other financial prod and money laundering they're also using storage value -- and there's been a significant increase in money laundering using cryptocurrency investigations. we've doubled our seizures since last year. we have seen chinese tco's
10:43 pm
containing narcotics contracts from mexican tco, and pulling traditional methods such as money pick ups and structuring through casinos banks and wires. we're also seeing, which is of concern to us and we're investigate chinese counterfeited foreign documents that are being shipped in bucto mexico, and they're provided to tco's to create financial accounts or to register businesses, which makes it more difficult to see true defltion ownership. >> what you're telling me is the sophistication goes beyond bulk cash, and they're smart enough to know it isn't working we'll. we have to be smart about the right people and right technologies. when i went to that postal facility that cbp facility at o'hare airport, those are good people. doing the best they can. you wouldn't believe all the junk that comes through the mail
10:44 pm
into the united states, and a lot of it is trash and junk, and some of it has to be carefully inspected because it contains fentanyl, and narcotics and the rest. we need a system, and we need more people. it's putting in technology in personnel to effectively deal with the threats of the united states. and i think fentanyl is one of the most dangerous threats, thanks mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> let me start on the last point that my friend and colleague senator durbin made. are there places along the border where a physical barrier makes sense as part of a system. >> yes senator there certainly are. >> and as i recall 2006 congress passed the secure fence act which authorized 700 miles of fencing and passed on a broad bipartisan basis. has most of that been constructed so far. >> yes sir, most of it has been. >> so in some places physical
10:45 pm
barrier does make sense, just to make that point. >> yes it does and if i may -- in relation to technology, women and the resources that support our effects when the comes to having enough people to make the apprehension or make the seizure. i would like in it to the ring doorbell the doorbell is great technology that ring doorbell and the ability to be able to see somebody that comes up to steal a package off your porch but does not prevent them from stealing the package off your porch. you need the impedance and denial that is what a barrier brings, and you need to law enforcement personnel as you stated to make the arrest or to make the seizure.
10:46 pm
>> thank you for that. >> so i just want people to understand, i think every one of us there's have some sympathy and certainly empathize with people who are experiences violence, or lack of economic opportunity, jobs, in their home countries. and who want a better life. that's just the human condition. but, are the same people, the same narco-traffickers, the same human traffickers, the same people who facilitate the transit of migrants from central america through mexico into the united states, are they the same ones that are importing heroine and methamphetamine in the united states? >> the cartelseen the applauses and run the areas along the entire border. they run the plazas. they may not be the ones who are
10:47 pm
moving them through however the alien smuggling organizes have to pay a fee to move people through those areas. so they work hand in hand. you mentioned before, senator, the very dynamic situation in which it comes to the people. i've said it before, and i'll say it again. our men and women do not check their humanity at the door. they have a tough job to do, and a tough mission dealing with humanitarian and law enforcement mission and i'm proud of what they do. >> well we thank you for saying that. i think you speak for all of us. but inpoint i want to make is that the same transnational criminal organizes that traffic in drugs, and traffic in women and children for sex slavery, are the same ones that move the migrants across the border from central america, correct? >> they certainly have involvement in the movement of the migrants. >> and it's all about the money,
10:48 pm
right? it's their business model. >> it is and as i stays in my opening statement unfortunately they do not treat the migrants, the people any different than they do the drugs or the money. >> and to senator durbin's point the same sort of technology that the commissioner talked about yesterday that you're discussing that can identify the movement of people, drugs, and other contraband coming north, if there were sufficient numbers of them and we have the infrastructure in place that would allow it that could also scan vehicles heading south containing bulk cash and weapons. , is that correct? >> yes there is the potential to use that as well. >> but i understand it it's been the priority on traffic coming north. because we're talking about the drugs again, and the other contraband and illegal immigration. and so there hasn't been
10:49 pm
deployed the sort of resources in terms of manpower or technology for traffic heading south. >> my colleagues specifically at the ports of entry my colleagues as you both know have a difficult mission in they have a dwarfs mission and a mission to facility lawful travel and trade. and they focus their resources of course on inbound however they do deploy as much as they can to outbound operations as well. >> but they have to have priorities given limited resources. >> yes senator. >> and you've answered this at another hearing but i want to reiterate this. the caravans of migrants that are showing up at the bridge, and tijuana, and which are showing up every day in what i would call a mini-caravan, roughly 400,000 people detained at the southwestern border in fiscal year 2017, tens of
10:50 pm
thousands of unaccompany andy children and family units do the cartel use them as a diversion to tie up border patrol and other law enforcement authorities and then use that gap to exploit the importation of illegal drugs in the united states. >> yes, senator, that is a tactic they have used over the years, and certainly with the influx we are having in regard to this humanitarian issue they most certainly use that as a diversion for us as my men and women are spending a large majority of their time dealing with the humanitarian effort, it takes them away from their border security mission, and the cartels, and tco's know that and use it to their advantage. >> this is my final question, mr. durbin is discussing how creative and you were discussing how creative they have gaunt when it comes to money
10:51 pm
laundering, it's not just bulk cash coming across the southwestern border. is it possible for the cartels and other criminal organizes simply to wire money back to the mexico -- and central america because without identifying who is sending it, in other words are there other tools or authorities that our law enforcement agencies need to stop that and is that a problem. the reason i ask is because i know tens of boins of dollars of remittances are sent each year from the united states back to the home countries of people who have come to the united states and i just want to ask you whether that's a vunlt in terms of creative money a laundering or wiring money back to the home country. >> i think one of the -- biggest vunlts as far as money laundering is correspondent banking and some of the rules
10:52 pm
and regulations we have as far as depositing money, the name of a bank account, and/or bank in the name of a business. what's happening in many high profile cases we're working. working on commercial fraud and making that a priority. as much money is laundered through little bit trade, and they're involved in cryptocurrency as we talked about, and some of the lack of transparency and beneficial ownership as far as corporations makes it difficult for us to assert what true ownership there is in a business and be able to sees assets. i think capacity building, overseas with our partners, building their capacity for financial investigative efforts, and their ability to engage in asset forfeitureture, would be -- would give us the biggest bang for our buck. >> thank you very much.
10:53 pm
thank you all for being here, and helping us understand this problem, and providing some good answers, and food for thought. for further action. there is another vote on so we'll excuse the first panel, and go vote and come back, and take up the second panel, thank you, we'll be in adjournment m..


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on