Skip to main content

tv   Federal Officials Testify on Drug Cartels and Border Security  CSPAN  February 16, 2017 8:01pm-9:39pm EST

8:01 pm
policy issues that impact you. and discussing the nation's aging damn system -- dam system >> and civil liberties policy analyst at cato institute and senior campaign staff interaction and russian officials. talking about the future of transatlantic nations and nato and the populism in europe and impact of brexit. be sure to watch these beginning at 7:00 eastern friday morning. join the discussion. >> a house panel investigated the threat to the u.s. by drug cartel operations along the southern border. witnesses include representat e representatives from the coast guard and homeland security and state departments. this homeland security
8:02 pm
subcommittee hearing is chaired by congresswoman mcsally of arizona. the committee on border and maritime committee coming to order. i was in an armed services committee hearing very important to the f-35 and the way ahead for our troops. i appreciate your patience. the subcommittee's meeting today to discuss the threat caused by drug cartels. first, i'd like to welcome the newest member of our subcommittee, member from florida, mr. rutherford. i look forward to working with
8:03 pm
you. i hope we can engage thoughtful productive conversations and partnerships to help secure our homeland. one of my goals is to drill down on the threat an unsecure border poses to our federal americans, which will be the focus of our conversation today. at our next hearing we'll hear from leaders of the border security joint task forces authorized by this committee last congress about the approach and combatting this threat. maintaining our borders is a mul multi-facfaceted effort. the job of the u.s. coast guard is to secure a maritime border. we have field operations securing more than 300 ports of entry and air and marine operations carries out air and marine maritime environment activities and missions to interdict cargo approaching our borders. finally, supporting the national security investigatory
8:04 pm
authorities and responsibilities. these are not simple or easy ta tasks. the southwest border has sometimes inforgiving terrain, mountains and canyons and more than 1,000 miles of river. 4.9 million square miles of ocean providing cartels with enormous expanses to conduct their elicit activities. congress has appropriated billions of dollars to shore up our border defenses and today we have an impressive array of technology and person yell to keep our borders safe. we have seemingly made little progress over the last four years to secure the boreder. most recent report and testimony suggesting we are a little more than 50% effective from stopping people from crossing the border illegally and they continue to pour into our communities unaba unabated. on the other side of the border, the adversary, mexican drug
8:05 pm
cartels operate a wide reaching network. nothing moves in or out unless they say so. they have influence and power throughout mexico is ubiquitous, corruption endemic and local law enforcement in mexico often find theirselves ill equipmented to handle the vast amount of activity. smuggling people is a billion dollar business. and they have one thing in mind eliciting illegal products and people across the border of the united states. obscene profit incentivize's the cartel to be innovative to i smuggle stair elicit cargo. we know they conduct extensive surveillance against our agents and place spotters on hillsides and use tunnels and a proliferation of unorthodox
8:06 pm
method of smuggling such as double barrelled canons in my district and other areas to shoot hundreds of pounds of drugs over the fences and barri barriers. ultra light aircraft, difficult to detect radar to fly drugs over the border and dropping it quickly and returning to undetected mexico. in my district, authorities broke up a complicated smuggling ring recently and they specialized in drive through operations that used vehicle convoys laden with thousands of pounds of drugs across the border and used scouts and it was not an amateur operation by any means. to the contrary a sophisticated criminal enterprise to thwart law enforcement at every term. this is the nature of what we're fa facing. san diego was a sector but concerted efforts in the '90s and 2000s brought the situation under control, because the cartels are nimble they
8:07 pm
responded by using small vessels to push the degree load s farthr of the coast of california, i'm sure we will hear about that from you today to make it more difficult to detract. semi-submersibl semi-submersibles, blue to blend in with the ocean and used to bring in multiton cocaine loads to mexico. their ultimate destination is cities and towns across our nation. as we increase our focus this congress of securing the border i welcome we have to be clear-eyed about the difficult sophistication we face with these adversaries on the other side. they will not sit identically by as we increase our strategy and that will threaten their business model and adapt like they always do and sometimes outsmart us if we do not leverage our power together countering the cartels. i really look forward to your testimony, thank you for coming more ward and i ask unanimous
8:08 pm
consent that the gentleman from new york be allowed to participate. without objection, so ordered. >> thank you, chair woman calling this important hearing. this is one area many of us can agree we can work together to achieve our ultimate goal, to do as much as we can to impact the negative work that the cartels do in south america, mexico and all throughout the united states. at the same time, do what we can to take drugs off our streets. i would first like to welcome and introduce the newest members on the border for security. representing california's 46th congressional district and most
8:09 pm
recently served in the california state senate. val demings, the first person to hold the position in the police department and an experienced attorney representing the 44th district including the port of los angeles and i'd like to recognize my colleague, mr. richmond, our senior member in the committee and joined us on the subcommittee the first time. i look forward to working with all of you in the coming months. each of you bring a unique perspective and expertise to maritime security to this subcommittee. the subject of our hearing today is one of particular interest to me, given that, like congressman sally, i represent a border district in the rio grand valley of texas. for years now, in mexico, the state across from my congressional district has been coping with serious security issues due to cartel violence.
8:10 pm
in fact, this coming thursday, my mexican colleagues at the federal level in the state and i will be launching a social media effort to help promote the idea of bringing peace to the state. as mexican cartels have fought for control of smuggling corridors in mexico and our southern border, communities on the mexican side have seen drug related homicides and violence. the threat is not confined to our southern border. cartels use networks within the united states to traffic elicit drugs, weapons and other contraband. the security and prosperity of all our districts and so many communities across the nation depend in part on security and prosperity across the border. i want to continue to be supportive of the united states efforts to that end. i am also appreciative of secretary kelly's recent comm t
8:11 pm
comments with respected to what he would like to do to address the issue of demand in this country. i hope to hear from you today about how the various xencompons within dhs are coordinating in mexico and enhance border security. i would ask all of our witnesses to speak to the subcommittee about how the threat has evolved and changed over time. what we need to do to change this threat and what we as members of congress can do to support all our efforts. border communities like many of us represent and neighbors in mexico are counting on us to get this right. madam chairman, thank you for holding this hearing and i appreciate our witnesses joining us today. i look forward to a productive congress with you and all the members of the subcommittee. i yield back theles with balan time. >> opening statement mays be submitted by the record. we're pleased to be joined by
8:12 pm
four distinguished witnesses. vice admiral charles, and responsible for the development of operational strategy, guidance and resources that address the coast guard's national priorities. he previously served as a pacific area commander in the middle east director of iraq training and advisor for the interior. commander paul beason, commander of jtf arizona, responsible for guidance and commissioner of cvp, through command and coordination of operational functions within the state of arizona. in addition to those roles and responsibilities, he has oversight of the sector encompassing the tactical operation of eight stations including 420 person yelnel in director. the assistant director of
8:13 pm
homeland programs for security investigations and u.s. and customs enforcement. mr. allen for programmatic oversight for strategic planning and national policy discussion and initiatives. mr. allen previously served as special agent in charge of arizona where he had oversight of it. c.e. and led more than 500 penniel throughout the state. ambassador louis, did i pronounce that correctly? he is responsible for state department programs combatting elicit drugs and organized crime as well as support for law enforcement and rule of law in the western hemisphere. prior to this appointment he served as united states ambassador for the republic of ice lan from 2010 to 2013. the witness's full written statements will appear in the record and now five minutes to
8:14 pm
testify. >> good morning, chair woman mcsally and ranking member vela. thank you for the opportunity to testify on threats to the homeland. cbp i.c.e. and the department of state and i'd like to thank everyone for their leadership in this effort. before i continue, i want to draw your attention to the exhibit in north america and central america and south america. when i talk about the transit zone, when we speak about that, it's between that area and south american and southern mexico. we continue to face a threat leading to the sub-approaches to the united states. the coast guard protects the maritime border not just here at home and the coast of south and
8:15 pm
central america as part of our layered security strategy. as secretary kelly stated a few days ago, the defense of the southwest border starts about 1500 miles south of there. when transnational criminal organizations or violent tra transnational criminal organizations threaten and harm governme governments, they engage in all matters of elicit activity and destabilize latin america. the widespread violence they employ has reached epidemic problems and those who attempt to illegally enter the united states. as one of the nation's five a armed forces and the only one with broad law enforcement authority, the position to attack these criminal networks where they are most vulnerable at sea. their in terdiction package includes a cutter and helicopter
8:16 pm
and high speed boats and boa boarding trains. we seize multitugs at sea before they are broken into small quantities extremely difficult to intercept as they make their journey to north america. we leverage only 42 maritime law enforcement s in the hemisphere for prosecutions. in many effective areas we're the only maritime presence for our maritime neighbors. our coast guard personnel assets are effective. the coast guard agency interd t interdicted more cocaine at sea than interdicted across the land than locals come bined because we get it in bulk quantities offshore, sometimes in the thousands of kilos. by doing so we push the border south to protect the nation
8:17 pm
significantly to impact the criminal organizations. beyond demonstrating our effect the trafficking is unfortunately on the rise. resource constraints and lack of capable surface assets allow the coast guard to only target 30% of the known cases. we have good intelligence, really high confidence intelligence. as a result of resources last year, we were preventing 580 smuggling events that made their way on north. unfortunately, due to national security demands on our great navy now preclude our participation in these operat n operations. secretary kelly noted there hasn't been a significant sustained navy presence in the eastern caribbean for almost four years. in that time our coast guard has doubled down our presence in the region and we are your armed force in the maritime approaches to the u.s. we continue to look
8:18 pm
for ways to increase our offshore cutter presence. we just don't have the assets to address all the intelligence we have. for that reason recapitalizing our cutter fleet with the program is a must for the program mission. we appreciate the support thus far and continued support from this congress will be essential as we move to commission our first offshore patrol cutter in 2021. these new assets will make us more effective. like the other armed forces we are facing other readiness challenges with assets and agent structure and strained work force and like our fellow chief said he believes it will stay that way as long as the budget control act is in effect. we will continue to use risk controlled approach for our resources and we have a group of outstanding professional men and women as evidenced by the 200 metrics of cocaine we seized in
8:19 pm
2016, a coast guard record. thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today and all due for the men and women of the coast guard. i look forward to hearing your concerns. >> thank you. the general can testify for five minutes. >> good morning. chair woman mcsally, ranking member vela and distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear on behalf of u.s. customs and border protection to discuss the drug smuggling tactics and techniques used by criminal organizations and how cbp is working to address this threat and secure our nation's borders. i began my career as a border patrol agent in 1985 and i have seen it change from a baurbd wire fence nationwide work force of a few,000 border patrol agents to today av 600 miles fencing and 22,000 border patrol
8:20 pm
agents on duty. the border has changed and become more complex. over the course of my career i have seen the creation of the department of homeland security, funding increases and decreases and committed evolution of victcriminals who seek to explo our borders. i have seen the cvp and offices that make up cbp work with congress. resources and technology and tactical infrastructure shape the border we see today. we have realized greater situational awareness and significant reductions in activity from a high of over 1.6 million arrests in fiscal year 2000 to just over 400,000 arrests last fiscal year. throughout my career i have seen tcos demonstrating unending resolve in their intent to exploit the border for their own gain. they have used nimble and
8:21 pm
innovative tactics to illegally cross our borders and smuggle both people and contraband. tcos operate including at and between the sports of entry and various domains such as land, air and sea. cbp has met and combat these illegal activities but tcos continue in their intent to circumvent border security measures. drug smuggling is a part of their enterprises and today smuggle by foot, vehicle, air, tunneling and even through the use of projectile type systems. tcos also rely on scouting and counter-surveillance and lo gist call support to further their illegal drug smuggling operat n operations. while illegal drug smuggling still occurs, they continue to take steps combatting their efforts. in fiscal year 2016, cbp officers seized or disrupted more than 3.3 million pounds of
8:22 pm
narcot narcotics. in addition to in terdictions and seizures, cbps disrupt the manner in which they attempt to struggle drugs, prior to fencing deployments in the tucson sector of operations, over 1,000 vehicle drive-throughs were recorded in 2006 and last year only 18 such events recorded. while ramping and drive through still occur they have diminished their probability of success and shaped these elicit operations. what i have seen in over 30 years of law enforcement is that tcos remain persistent in their intent to engage in illegal cross border activity. i have also seen cbp with collaboration with law enforcement partners make progress in improving the security of our borders. this is the result of investments over the years in our border security and in the blood, sweat and tears of the men and women engaged in the
8:23 pm
daily battle to secure our borders. with continued support from congress, we will continue to further refine and enhance the effectiveness of our detection and intradiction capabilities. while tcos may be intend in their smuggling operations, cbp is no less demd to safe guard the boarders of this consider with integrity. chairman mcsally and ranking member, vela, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. >> i now recognize the next guest. >> thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the threats posed by transnational criminal organizations and the efforts of u.s. immigrations and customs enforcement to identify, target, investigate and disrupt and
8:24 pm
dismantle criminal elements. today, i will provide isis perspective on the sophisticated smuggling threats on the southwest border and approaches and what we do to address tcos and smuggling activities before contraband arrives at our borders and once it makes to it the interior of the united states. i brought with me today a troubling graphic that represents the interagency assessment of the mexican criminal organizations in the united states and i want to thank the drug enforcement administration for sharing that and its use today. the mexican cartels, notably several, that stretch across the southwest border operating through networks and loose affiliations with smaller organizations in cities across the united states. as many of you know first hand the southwest border is a very diverse environment with maritime and land borders where the cartels adapted their methods and cargo to the local
8:25 pm
environment. from an operational point of view this means there is not a single strategy, tactic or technology that will succeed eliminating the threat on every part of the southwest border. to give you a sense of the varietity of smuggling challenges we collectively face, it is important to talk about heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and medical marijuana. heroin has becomes the most drug consumed in the united states. it can be smoked or snorted or interjected intravenously. the cartels added fentanyl to their inventory in response to the opium explosion in the united states and they include contraband loads and heroin and methamphetamine reinforcing the po polynature of the cartels. mexico is the source for the cocaine seized at the ports of entry in modified come papartme
8:26 pm
of modified vehicles or cargo shipme shipments. the majority of methamphetamine consumed in the united states is produced in mexico using precursor chemicals from asia. methamphetamine is almost exclusively seized in modified compartments of personally owned vehicles and the second most common method is by pedestrians. lastly, marijuana cultivated by mexican cartels makes mexico the largest supplier of marijuana to the u.s. drug market. the majority seized by the dhs agencies is seized as it is being smuggled between the ports of entry. when marijuana is seized at the ports of entry it is most often found concealed among commercial cargo. recognizing the border in southern california is different than arizona, new mexico and texas, the cartels adapt their smuggling methods to suit a specific area blending into traffic in a different area to avoid law enforcement attention. the cartels conduct surveillance on law enforcement operations
8:27 pm
along the border focusing on u.s. customs operations and between the poes. as the department changes its tactics or techniques and introduces new technology an infrastructure they adapt their operation for security efforts. one of the factors that allows the cartel to sustain and proliferate is corruption between mexico and the united states. they rely on corrupt mexican and u.s. officials to avoid seizures and arrests. along the southwest border i.c.e. assigned agents and research specialists to our south border offices. i.c.e. leads and participates in a number of task forces investigating this criminal element. our relationship with mexico has proven to be an important partnership in the fight against tcos taking down the cartel's top leadership as in wa scejoak
8:28 pm
guzman. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and your continued support of it. c.e. and its law enforcement mission. i.c.e. is committed to stemming cross border operations i have discussed today and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. the chair recognizes ambassador five minutes. >> thank you. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the department of state's efforts to combat transnational organized crime in the western hemisphere. with your permission i have al for al statement i'd like to submit for the record. as this committee knows well, transnational crime undermines our border security, inflicts harm in our communities and threatens the rule of law. the department of state's bureau of national narcotics and law enforcement affairs, inl i have the honor to represent leads our
8:29 pm
country's efforts to combat crime overseas. we do this by supporting u.s. law enforcement agency's efforts to strength often ten the capac the governments and criminal justice system. the fact is we need strong and effective partners overseas to combat narcotics and production and trafficking. we advance our efforts through four partnerships. the maritime initiative, the central america regional security initiative, the caribbean based security initiative and our long-standing partnership with colombia. under the maritime initiative we are working to strengthen the capacity of mexican institutions to identify, investigate and dismantle criminal networks, uphold the rule of law and protect our shared border. since 2007, the united states has delivered nearly 1$1.6 billion in assistance. this includes suspicion and ins
8:30 pm
detection equipment along the border as well as training and equipment to identify and dismantle clandestine drug laboratories and carry out complex investigations of organized crime. our investments, i emphasize this, have fostered unprecede unprecedented corroboration between mexican and u.s. authorities. they're driving citizens to leave their home in search of safety, opportunity and family living abroad. many travel through mexico in an attempt to reach the united states. our programs in central america help governments strengthen border security and fight traff traffickers, international gangs and human smugglers. in 2016, security units supported by u.s. law enforcement agencies reported seizing over 116 metric tons of cocaine. on the corruption front,
8:31 pm
honduras fired nearly 2,000 corrupt police officer, while in guatemala the attorney general is bringing corruption charges against current and former high level officials. in the caribbean approximately 10% of cocaine movements destined for the united states. our program supports maritime intradiction by equipping and training maritime agencies in partner countries. in 2015, reported cocaine seizures in partner countries reached 24 metric tons, 124% increase over the previous years. colombia remains the world's largest producer of cocaine and the origin of presidential 90% of what is seized in the united states. in light of the troubling increase in cultivations since 2013 we know we need to deepen our collaboration with our colombian partners. the good news is collombia with
8:32 pm
our sport that intensified their intradiction efforts. they increased 20% in 2016. the colombian government has been our steadfast partner since before the start of planned colombia in 1999. we are confident this partnership will endure. let me close by reiterating our commitment by continue working with our partner governments to protect our homeland. it must be said that achieving lasting change will be neither easy for quick. we are encouraged however by results today and remain confident that a sustained investment will benefit the security of the united states. chair woman mcsally, ranking member, vela, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, ambassador. i now recognize myself for five minutes for questions. since we started late i will start off by yielding to my vice
8:33 pm
chair, mr. hurt, from texas and i will go at the end of our colleagues. >> thank you, chair woman and our esteemed panelists, appreciate you being here today and all the work you and the men and women in your organizations do. i recognize the difficulty of the task. admiral, my first question is to you. in your opening remarks, you talked about how 30% is high confidence intelligence. what would you need to get that number to 100? >> sir, thank you for the confidence. i don't know we'd ever get it to 100. you need more coast guard cut r cutters on the water and the package that goes with them. the helicopter and overhead maritime patrol aircraft. the numbers are 6.0 cutter
8:34 pm
presence and usually we have air force helicopters and why we action the 30% to raise it up, you double that and make a pretty good dent. that's why our o shore patrol program a recapitalization is so important to that. >> can you give us context, let's say you were able to double your resources, how long would it take to make that operati operational? >> once we put them in theater, the first offshore patrol cutters, with the support of congress we have it on budget or contract and she'll be commissioned in 2021, a fleet of 25. there's more bills to pay on that and why we appreciate your support in advance. as soon as they're commissioned we put them down range. that's our highest priority mission and one of our highest. >> we have the folks, 23 have the people? >> they come with the ships, sir
8:35 pm
and be building and recruiting those as the ships come online. >> good. my next question is, my sense is that when it comes to, let's call it the ground war, we're having the opposite issue on the seas where we have the level of intelligence coming out with tcos and groups operating in mexico and the rest of central america can increase. when you look at the 19 criminal organizations operating in mexico alone, we're not making them a national intelligence priority. do you disagree with that assessment? would you like to see more nsa collection, more cia collection on the threat in order to drive your operations? chief, i will let you go first. >> thank you, congressman. we do work with the intelligence community to get information.
8:36 pm
so my experience has been chief of the tucson sector and commander of that task force in tucson. we have been able to synthesize the intelligence from the intelligence community and take action against it. we work closely with homeland security investigations. they have personnel assigned e that handle that type of information and when there's intradiction to do parallel construction we hand it off to them and take to it fruition with regard to the investigation. we are always looking for ways to improve on our intelligence capabilities, something we continue to work at is to get better and better at the intelligence. >> mr. allen, what would be
8:37 pm
helpful to improve the intelligence collection? >> i would echo the chief's comme comments, we work on a daily basis with the intelligence community. no one is going to turn down any more assistance or more information. i think our biggest challenge and i think what we're seeing in our investigation we have i think the ic can help us with network identification and identifying networks out there. more and more i think the challenges we face this is ability to illuminate the network and figure out and connect people and events in a way we could use in a prosecution. i think there's always a challenge turning intelligence into evidence. in the end, our primary focus is criminal investigations and our goal is to present cases for prosecution. and while it's great to know and there's a not so fine line difference between intelligence
8:38 pm
and evidence. in our world, we need to be able to turn intelligence into evidence. >> good. thank you. i yield back. >> thanks, i recognize ranking member vela for five minutes. >> thank you, admiral wright, i want to point out that your personnel has been tremendous over the last four years, as i've been on this committee. there's nothing like seeing it for yourself. they've consistently worked with our office and reached out to show us what they do and i would just let you know we respect our newer members to the extend that you can do the same thing in the regions they represent it is a very helpful experience. thanks for everything you do. i think my first question is for chief beason and if you could comment you referred to the a d aradcation efforts in columbia. if you could go first, chief, just generally summarize where
8:39 pm
we are with respect to ar aradcation efforts in colombia and the other two south american countries we see cocaine production and briefly comment on that as it pertains to the poppy production in mexico. >> so the border patrol, customs and border protection, we're really working on the capability. we're working to interdicted the narcot narcotics, contraband, things like that being smuggled across the border. we're not heavily involved in eradication. >> maybe this is a better -- >> i will punt it. >> i was going to suggest that. >> yes. on the issue of cocoa plantings in colombia, there's been a
8:40 pm
doubling since 2013. a result of a number of factors. number one, there was a who report, which the colombian reports used to ask for the end of eradication, one reason. another important reason as the aerial eradication continues successfully the cocoa planters planted in areas where it was made difficult and areas aerial eradication was not allowed, some indigenous areas and mountain areas. a third factor is we encourage farmers to plant anticipating that perhaps there was going to be a peace process, where cocoa farmers would be compensated for eradicating their crops. those are the main reasons as to why it wasn't increased.
8:41 pm
nonetheless, the colombian authorities are very much committed to eradicate manly and entirely and we are in very intense conversations with them to figure out how we can support those efforts. we support the intradiction part to producing cocaine. >> i'd like to explore that issue and compare eradication efforts in the other countries, for example, poppy production in mexico. i'll go ahead and move to my next question for mr. allen. i think this is something perhaps probably deserving of a hearing in and of itself. mr. allen, my question for you is how would you, with respect to our cooperative efforts in mexico and with law enforcement in mexico and the united states, how would you describe the state of that cooperative effort today and what would you like to see in the future?
8:42 pm
>> i think the one word answer is good and i would expand on it by saying growing. i talked elderelder -- earlier our goal being criminal prosecuti prosecutions. the largest presence outside the united states is actually in mexico, where we have the largest number of agents deployed internationally. i think if we're going to become more effective and impact the tcos and cartels in particular we need to grow that presence and relationships we have with the mexican federal police, mexican customs and mexican military and in mexico that focuses on migration from mexico to the united states. we have a good relationship but we need to continue to work to grow it. >> real quickly, chief, on the tco chart of the influence of mexican tcos across the united states, i notice it looks like the sinoloa cartel has quite a
8:43 pm
presence along the east coast. can you tell us about that? how do they extend that deeply? >> got to remember the button. through the use of their networks and lever vanling networks and transportation infrastructure. >> the chair woman recognizes other members of the subcommittee in accordance to rules, we recognize those by senator and those coming in later will be recognized in order of arrival and the chair recognizes mr. rutherford from florida. >> thank you, madam chair and the panel for being here today. thank you for the service you have provided in the past and future to keep our country safe. i want to shift the focus a little bit, if i could. we've talk a lot about the drugs
8:44 pm
and the harm that brings to our country. also, the united states coast guard interdicted several my migrants from former eastern block countries in '15 and '16. could you discuss how it's not south and central americans these cartels are smuggling into the united states but also people from other countries in addition to that, could you address the potential of foreign terrorists utilizing these cartels to utilize the maritime domain to gain entry to the u.s. and do us harm? >> thank you, congressman rutherford. thank you for your years of law enforcement service. it's an honor to take a question from you. the coast guard last year int interdicted primary 6,000 cubans
8:45 pm
at sea in this straits of florida and eastern approaches to florida and a handful on the west coast, which was a big year, the biggest year since 1994. it's primarily cubans. with regards to special interest ali aliens, those countries associated with terrorism, small numbers in the maritime appro h approaches right now. less than 20 over the course of the last couple of years. not a great threat vector there at present. to address your real question, are these transnational criminal organizations capable? there's no doubt in my mind, they're so fiphisticated smuggl organizations that start in the southern reaches of our hemisphere, as the chief addressed and graphics addressed, go all the way to new york city. they work for profit and i don't think they check for passports before they pick people up. they will do anything for a profit. we have not seen evidence of terrorist connections right now,
8:46 pm
congressman, i don't think anybody is -- we must maintain vigilance on that and with that. with regards to people from other nations, we get them. just last week we had a boat seized off the bahamas en route to the united states that had a dozen chinese people on board. the tail tales of these migra e coming to america, there's plenty of it. >> the potential, admiral, highlights the fact mr. hurd brought up earlier about the gap created between our abilities now and the recapitalization of the fleet, and your capabilities down the road. we certainly have a gap there. that's one reason i want to salute, madam chairman, the united states navy, who made the decision just yesterday to locate the m q4 c tritan program in jacksonville, at mayport naval station, which will give
8:47 pm
us an unmanned aerial vehicle capability i hope will certainly be used to fill some of that gap that was created when the navy did away with their program which certainly increased the gap. and so i bring that up to also ask, kind of following up on mr. hurd's question. i know that the president has made it clear one of his top priorities will be rebuilding the navy to 350 plus ships. but i believe this effort also should include the u.s. coast guard and that's why i think you're here today. secretary kelly told us during the full committee hearing, many of the ships are very very old. in fact the valiant in jacksonville, i think, is 50 years old. one of those ships. can you give us your -- i know you talked about this a little
8:48 pm
earlier. how long will it be before we get those 25? that wasn't the 2019 you were talking about, correct? >> yes, sir. thank you for the question. the offshore patrol cutter we have them under contract now and it's a multiyear contract. the first one supposed to be commissioned in 2021. we are maintaining our medium endurance cutters. as you said, almost all of them are older than the parents of the young men and women serving on them a data point. we have others amping the 35 year length. we can stretch those out another 15 years until we get on board. that's why our offshore patrol cutter is important to get back in service. >> i certainly hope the tritan program will be of great assistance to you. thank you. i yield back. >> i recognize the gentleman. >> thank you, madam chair. i appreciate you being here today. i represent southern california.
8:49 pm
i'm a father of four children. to me, drugs and keeping that poison away from our children is top priority. i've been blessed. my children have avoided those scourges but a lot of my neighbors have not. drugs, something we can all agree on, stopping them from getting to our communities. yet as i look at our mexican border when i was a state senator i chaired the california mexico state committee, you begin to realize the huge tra trading partnership we have with mexico. our biggest or second biggest trading partner we have in the world. that border is the most traveled cross border in the world. i've always advocated for smart borders meaning you can check folks, check merchandise before it gets to the border so we can make sure things flow smoothly, effectively and we stop the negati
8:50 pm
negativity. vice admiral ray, you said something that really bothered me. that is that you had intelligence on 500 events. 500 events, and you did not have the assets to stop them from thm from possibly reaching our shores. i'm going to repeat the same question, what do you need and where. i look at that chart on the side i look at those red lines, given that columbia is at peace with part, i think those red lines are going to get thicker. where do you need assets in the u.s.? somewhere latin america to stop all of that cocaine production from coming into our shores. >> thank you sir. they could sail from there and go anywhere we need them. where we need them is in that
8:51 pm
area between south america and central america. that's a huge area. covering that is difficult. however, with the intelligence we have now, that's what let us know who is out there. we know on a given morning, we do this, and we know who is there who we can get over. we had to let 580 because we didn't have sufficient access. as i mentioned to congressman rutherford earlier, about doubling down on the amount. asset that's how you effect them. >> so that could be a priority sir in terms of investment. mr. alan, you mentioned you have a better working relationship with mexican government.
8:52 pm
i had an opportunity to hook at the central intelligence where they were looking at every vehicle come acos their border. my question is, what else do you need, what is it that we need to do to increase, enhance or partnership with mexico to make sure the drugs doesn't reach our shores and borders? >> as i said, i think building a capacity of mexican agencies and increasing the rule of law in mexico is a key part of that. our rule is a lie son role. >> what do you need? >> more people. executive order which calls for
8:53 pm
10,000 more i.c.e. employees. our plan would be to employ those outside of the united states. >> within mexico and other countries as well? >> absolutely. >> final question to chief ben son, in terms of people of interest, to you have a number of how many have been ap henneding crossing the southern border versus the northern border? >> we have looking at folks and their travel patterns that would lead us to have concerns about those individuals. so that is information that we do keep. i do not have it with me today. i would have to take that back po for the record. >> thank you. >> chair recognizes myself for
8:54 pm
question. i mentioned in opening statement, sophisticated drive through, they successful smuggled large quantities of drugs through arizona for years, before they were caught. and these drive through operation are something i here from the constituents about. we have seen encrypted special communication, tactics to avoid detection. the last breach i saw they used blow torch welding equipment to cut through the gate. they were able to prep that through the spoters and scouts. if you by it you would not be able to see the breach. at the time and place, they open
8:55 pm
it up, put the ramp, drive-through and go through undetected. just giving that case study of them being able to conduct the operation of years, do you think this level of sophisticate is new normal for cartel operation. is there additional tools or authorities we need to give you in order to detect and interdikt type of operation so they don't go on for years before they are detected. what can we learn from it and do you need an why additional toolr authorities. >> we do have this phenomenon, if you will. they are sophisticated in their approach. they have plenty of time to wait
8:56 pm
and seek the right opportunity to engage in their activity. they are ewe unitizing the vehicles that looks like a car carrier and they use it to ramp over the fence. for us to combat that we are continuing to work on awareness, making sure to improve detection along the southwest border. critical for us to engage with law enforcement, home land security investigation to make sure we are all sharing the information, know about who the net works are, and getting information from the intelligence community that's going to provide us with the preevent intel so we can take actions against the folks. >> are there any additional
8:57 pm
tools or authorities relating to cracking the encrypted come. we introduce a bill related to the scouts, when you roll them up you cannot prosecute them. we are going to keep pushing the issue. is there anything you need to get out decision move and techniques. >> there's -- we have been able to prosecute some of them. it it requires effort. good solid police report to be able to that. we're happy to do. we have been having a good relationship with u.s. attorneys office in terms of being able to present the cases for them to take a prosecution on individuals who do not have narcotics with them but they are able to prove conspiracy and take those cases.
8:58 pm
we're going to continue to fluiplug away on technology. and we need to keep sapplying those things. >> the one thing i would add is the foreign piece. there was a good example last year just south -- in your district on a mexican side where by having good relationship with the mexican counterpart make sure the border was not a barrier. when we had information about a failed drive-through or drive-throu drive-through twlards. that's another piece we need to develop on, when we notify them of a drive-through, we can
8:59 pm
action it on the mexican side. >> can i follow up on that. most of your testimony you talked about better coronation with authorities in mexico. yet, in corruption through the government and law enforcement. how do you balance those two and cooperate but not tipping them off related to the elements of corruption that would be involved in your partner agencies. >> i'll start on this. first of all, you have to go in with eyes wide open. you have to acknowledge corruption is a challenge. when it comes down to who you talk to and where at what level of the government. our best relationships are often in mexico city away from the border. as an example to demonstrate, last year, hhi and cvp and state local authorities in arizona did
9:00 pm
unprecedented operation in which we identified targets that indictments on u.s. that we want to get. we enlisted support of the plex can police and got them to send more than 100 law enforcement officers on the u.s. side of the border and arizona and conduct airmobile assault into mexico from the united states fully armed, coordinated amongst all the agencies from the state department, very successfully was not compromised because we worked with u.s. trained u.s. vetted law enforcement units that made that possible. that's the way we can't to continue to move. >> thank you. my time is expired. chair from california for five
9:01 pm
minutes. >> thank you. gentlemen, thank you for service. thank you for being here today. i want to start with you admiral ray. if that's done, do you think that's going to increase in shift more focus on to the seas and can maritime ports of entry? >> i think there's a highly likelihood of that, ma'am. when determined we found illegal traffickers are hard barrier on the land there's a percentages of them go to sea and try their hands there. we see it on both sides of the country. i think there's a reasonable potential for that. >> you also testified about if you had resource it may be a good place to put it in the seas
9:02 pm
between u.s. and central and south american. do you see for see threat coming into westside of the cost or is there a greater need down in that area you mentioned. >> we couwould do both. from san diego north where we work with our partner agencies and we have had a big affect in seizures of marijuana trafficking and smuggle. that's a ongoing border prapgs. when i talk talk down range that's where -- that's that cocaine is bound for central america. it's fuel for the fire there in those violent countries. it's both of those. >> last question i have is for
9:03 pm
everybody. we have been hearing a lot from panelist talk importance of american/mexican relationship, and the criminal organizations. yet, we have been hearing from this administration lots of talk about building a wall, about having mexico pay for the wall even about talks of tariff of 20% on mexico. one of my concern this talk is going to weaken cooperation between u.s. and mexico having us become less of a parter, i should say between the two. can you comment on what would be impact if we had that. if we had u.s. and mexico weaken the cooperation what that will do on impact drug cur tell and
9:04 pm
us having ability to fight that threat? >> so i would say that i have been doing this job for a long time, over 30 years. it's we have enjoyed throughout the court course of that time a relationship with the government of mexico and that relationship has gotten better and better and better throughout the years. a number of operation is the one that director allen mentioned. we engaged with local authorities on regular basis for address border violence so we understand what the threat is that's operating in that area. we both wanted a secure border. we look forward to continued relationship with the government of mexico. it's important for us. and what we're doing to from a law enforcement perspective is
9:05 pm
paying dividend on the border security front. >> so i make sure you answer the question, this is, what will impact be if there's less cooperation with the u.s. and mexico. i understand what you're saying. i agree with you. my concern is a lot of the rhetoric we are hearing from the administration leads to less cooperation. i want to know what the harm will be unless cooperation to this fight, this important fight against drug kcartel. can you address what that impact might be? >> i think the short answer is it would hurt it. i think as chief bee son mentioned and i experience will illustrate, we have weathered storms before in our relationship and we deal law enforcement to law enforcement with our mexican counter parts. we have not seen degradation on
9:06 pm
our relationship. we will be able to soldier on and make our way through it. >> i agree with my panelist. naturally we work on basis that governments want to work with us without it we could not accomplish much. >> gentleman's time expired. chair recognizes lady from florida. >> mr. allen, we heard talk, and i believe we have a strong relationship with mexico. i'm thankful for that. what about our working relationship with your counterpart in central america.
9:07 pm
>> hhi has offices throughout central america and south america and a lot of relationship we share with our central and south american counterparts. in my written testimony, we talk about units where we work cooperatively with u.s. trained investigate from both counts that allows us to project our authorities and authorities in auto area that provide that land bridge to the united states whether drug trafficking or illeg illegal migration and we see those as parent. the further we can push out that border, the better off we are by pushing out that border.
9:08 pm
>> what do you think can be done to enhance that relationship. you talk ed about the testimony of agent, what could be done to enhance that relationship. >> continuing to help them build their capacity with inl, that fund our -- increasing ability to help them improve capabilities which helps us protect our borders. >> chief bee son, in previous years, many agents have complained or requested systems that would allow them to better communicate and share information with their law enforcement partners. is this challenge for you if so what can be done to improve intercommunications between
9:09 pm
those partners? >> we work i think very hard at improving relationships with our law enforcement partners. this is for us. we want to make sure that law enforcement agencies that are able to work with us on border security issues that we have good communication we engage in task force operation was them. oftentimes those task force are lead by home land security investigation. we will of course we do have car to car communications. assuming our radios are compatible. oftentimes we are able to overcome that especially now ahead with the cell phone and things that. always working on ways to improve communication. we enjoy what i think is a good relationship with the law enforcement community and
9:10 pm
something that we look forward to continuing into the years to come. >> have you had challenges with the security of the communications? >> so our communication are encrypted so we are continuely assessing the viability of the inkripgs and looking for -- we want to make sure they remain that way. we do lose radios from time to time or they get stolen, whether that happens we are able to enhibt the radios and as long as we're aware that's happened, but that's something we're looking at. >> thank you. i yield back. >> the chairwoman recognize -- >> i appreciate you for allowing employ me as sh -- i saw firsthand on the board r the profound problem
9:11 pm
we confront. i finished my 20-year career on northern border. there's not enough attention paid attention to the northern border. there's been no one is paying attention to the northern border from our standpoint. i can tell you, northern border is a -- we have indian reservation that straddles both borders. many people view the northern border vulnerable than the southern border. i would ask that the chairman schedule a hearing to dedicate northern poreder because they different than southern border
9:12 pm
but they merit attention. as we saw this week, there are gaping holes in the airport. smuggle more than 20 tons on aircrafts. that's a profound problem that's another border type issue. so for director allen, as you're aware of this instance, i would like to hear from hhi as to whether you have enough resource to fund -- that's not the first time we had this at airport with hhi and i'm concerned about that. second, how can tsa better support your efforts. i don't want fbi to be at odds with you.
9:13 pm
i want you to coordinate better with homeland security. if you can answer that. >> we will not talk about the -- i'm happy to talk about internal conspiracy whether or not airport or sea port and look at that threat. they present a tremendous challenge from law enforcement. the ability to get a firearm or other explosive devise falls within the scope you are counter terrorism within the department. from a drug trafficking points of view, we are aware they want to use that interstate ability to move to get their products from point a. to point b. in terms of your question about ability to work on that
9:14 pm
challenge, the vehicle that we use for that is the border enforcement security task forces. we have been expanding the best as we refer to them -- >> new york. >> we have four bets one in purity tory koe. that can focus on physical land border and other in this case and air ports and seaports. >> the fbi headed up operations nationwide. that was multiairport case there. how do you -- how would you make fbi's job better if you could. >> it comes down to coronation.
9:15 pm
the willingness and opens of agencies to coordinate and deconflict investigation. as long as we're doing that and we know someone is working issue in that if bureau needs information that we're standing by to do that. as long as we're talking, we're on the right track. >> i have 20 seconds. i have northern border question, the ship ride r, it's good success, how is the promise doing. is there discussions about expanding them? >> as you stated, that program is doing great. it's a great -- it closes scream
9:16 pm
on the border. we are proud of. st. lawrence and sou. it needs more people. operation is main tennance money. >> i hope we can have another hearing on this. i want to note two things for the word, two reports on two articles fbi reports show terror suspects coming from canada wile trump's stairs at mexico. streaming quebec order der. i would like to enter into the record. >> thank you. >> we're going into round 2. admiral ray, can you shed
9:17 pm
perspective on cartel information in the domain. using infrared night vision, can you share examples of you seen of evolving tactics and sophisticated technology. >> yes. there are innovative adaptive organization. as you said, sophisticated operation. if you request buy it in the open market. they have the funds to buy it. if it it's to do is communicating via satellite. they are doing it. and they got it. when it comes to maritime it's impressive they can deal in a jungle a craft capable of
9:18 pm
sailing about the distance from going from florida to washington state. that's impressive with -- so incredibly inno native and resourceful. that's what makes it tough and adaptable. >> thank you. chief bee soon, we talk about awareness and on the land border, there's been discussion about pushing the border south, as any sort of breeches come to the border, over, through under or around. we have to make sure we have breeches as close to the border as possible. we have had discussions about this. in the previous hearing, acting chief said situation awareness, if something breeches, if it
9:19 pm
moves, being able to see it is 56%. do you agree with that number is any of that changed and what do you need to do to increase awareness so if something moves you see it? >> so chief atell low was referring to deployment density. how you putting down the resource and things like. from my perspective that has gotten better. as you know, we have a system coming online in your state. we have another system that would be going operational in the near future and the value of men and women in the border control and the field offices on the line and being able to
9:20 pm
observe and report what te are seeing. the barriers we deploy and continue to deploy, all of that has to have a response element built into it. that's the men and can women. so we have continue to deploy personnel to get them down as close to the border as possiblemepossible. we want push it south. absent our ability to do that, we want to get it at the border. we do not want the border to become a single point of failure so we need to be able to respond appropriately should something get passed us on the line. >> thank you. we talked about a lot about the strategy of defense in the rural areas like my community where we have check points, allowing the cartels to traffic through communities for hours, days, miles, before they are
9:21 pm
potentially int potentially intercepted. is -- north and five miles of the border. there's a continue public safety concern. >> so we are constantly assessing our strategy and looking for ways to improve upon it. as i mentioned, our objective, we want to push the border south as farce as we can. working with the government in mexico to get some of these bad things before they cross into the u.s. we are continue to deploy the men and women down to the border
9:22 pm
with the objective to make the arrest as close to the boarer as possible. that's occurring in a wide number of areas. there are areas are there's no roads. those are areas where that's a challenge for us. and so we're continuing to work. really, we want them as close to the border, we want to prevent it from the first place and accent our ability to do that, which does happen, we want to make sure we do not allow the border to become a single point of failure. we want to make we have the capability to intersept anything that makes it across. >> we have some level of
9:23 pm
barriers and 654 miles. secretary kelly testified he would be listening to the and can the troops to hear where barrier need to be replaced or added. in your assessment where do we need barriers. replacements going on are causing some responses from the local resident living on the border and they are concerned. can you comment which secretary kelly said he will be listening. >> secretary kelly has been down to the border. he wen to the san diego and did receive briefing from us on what the current lay down is and areas we look to enhance that. the border patrol the acronym is
9:24 pm
c gap. what we are doing is looking at what our critical needs are where there are gaps ask making sure we have the plans moving forward on where we want to put these things. so we can i think provide you another briefing to give you a better idea of where exactly we would like to put a barriers. >> the chairman recognizes mr. correa. >> i want to say that during the obama administration we have record number of deportation under obama. were more than last two presidents combined. it's my understanding folks
9:25 pm
migrates north from mexico has slowed down. how much of that is due to the growing number of jobs to try to folks to stay to get jobs in mexico. >> that's outside of my exp expertise. >> it's a monetary policy that could reduce economic growth south of the border. but the other question i have one is a sensitive one on issue of corruption on our side. we have -- i know we have newspaper articles in it's past
9:26 pm
about border agents unfortunately, we looking to the way any update on that, any stat on the corruption on our side of the border? >> i don't have any numbers. the reality is u.s. law enforcement is not immuned to corruption. while i think annette dotely back to the question about internal conspiracy, that we face that same challenge, that insider threat challenge on our borders as well as. i.c.e. is not immuned. and it's something that we have to focus on and acknowledge. >> i say that because it's so much money is involved in this business and nobody is immuned.
9:27 pm
i thank all the men and women who protect our borders and citizens because you do a darn good job. my question is a comment. i had a chance to go into mexico. and the issue of public safety is a big one. for example, won't go out of the home after the sun goes down because they fear for their lives. a few days before i got there. mexican marines swept up the area. 40 casualties. 40 of the bad guys taken out. i want to encourage you to cooperate with the mexican thourts authorities. so, please continue to do a good job. >> chair recognizes mr. repo
9:28 pm
mr. rutherford. >> no. okay. can you -- cubans trying to head north. >> yes, ma'am, as i said last year was a record year cuban illegal growth since '94 after the dry ford was repealed, we saw sa dramatic downturn. we are not certainly not letting our guard down now. the conditions in cuban have a change. so we see the threat is out there but the facts ob the wauter. as of right now. since this was repealed. there's a lot less attempts we
9:29 pm
have seen thus far. >> can any of you comment on, we have a number of states legalizing the marijuana whether that's impacting business model of the -- relating to supply and demand issue. >> i think that may fall into intelligence gap. whether we talked about heroin, theres no mistaking the explosive growth in transition of heroin as one of the main drug they are exporting to the united states. >> to include increase demand opioid conditions. >> absolutely.
9:30 pm
>> in spite of the -- we still v a drug epidemic going on in the country and the price of drug is affordable for people to ruin their lives. that has not changed. the hard drugs coming through the ports of entry, most of you have testified to, mr. alan, what else do we need to do relating to the hard drugs making their way through? >> i think cvp has done a tremendous job how they target at the ports of entry. i think focusing on resources on that probably set. they have a short time to make
9:31 pm
decision about whether to admit or refer a vehicle for second inspection. giving the resource and capability to target in the personal vehicle and pedestrian is car to that. we can i.c.e. and contributes o to -- >> is there additional technologies needed that are not deployed to the each of the -- >> i defer to chief on that. >> i would have to take that back for the record. i would have to ask field ops. >> as i agree with many of the comments made by colleagues today, we have to make sure economic activity that comes north and south be able to flow
9:32 pm
while intercept, if we're talking about boarer security, at the ports of entry. so we have seen in my community, the douglas port of entry as an example, is a security issue they immediate upgrade to -- we have a hearing on that last time, upgrade to the ports of entry they involved in other federal buildings and problems related to gsa, we need to lock at this. we are talking about infrastructure. i think we talked often talk
9:33 pm
about security at ports of entry are critical. chair recognizes colleague. >> i want to thank you for being here today. i concur with our chairperson that very good discussion. i learned a lot today. i want to leave madame chairperson who said ports of entry, inland port is a concept i picked up from colleagues in texas that checking things kroz crossing the border a few miles before the they get border, your yob is easier than it is now. has there been thought about working on those inland ports of entry. >> cvp has engaged in several
9:34 pm
different pilot programs, the one you are referring to is in california most recently in arizona. they have a joint customs program with mexican customs that has been working well for them. they speak highly of this. so it's something they -- we continue to assess. >> i want to thank the witness for their valuable testimony and the dialogue. the members may have additional questions. i would ask to respond in writing. the record will be open for ten days. without objection, the hearing is adjourned.
9:35 pm
c p-span will release the results which ranked every past u.s. presidents on leadership. ranked former occupants of the white house results on web page tomorrow. this weekend on american history tv on c-span 3, two days after lincoln's assassination in
9:36 pm
april of 1865 general sherman and joseph johnson met to discuss future. history professor look back on the historic meeting. >> once they were inside, sherman took out his pocket the telegram he had been handed as he was leaving for the meeting and showed it to joe johnston. it stated two days before abraham lincoln had been assassinated in washington d.c. it was greatest possible calamity for the south. at 6:50 lynn dow di expresses her blue jean. >> the patent was awarding for
9:37 pm
improvement in fastening pocket opening which is boring open willing for envengs of the blue jean. sunday we begin african-american women from explorelation in -- award-winning journalist discusses her life. >> getting into the door because i paid in a certain way. i had to write, i could meet a deadline, and good colleagues where i was very few people of color. so just getting into the door isn't enough, is what i say about affirmative action. what do you do once you walk through it. for a complete schedule, go to
9:38 pm
watch c-span as president trump delivers first address to joint section of congress. >> this congress is going to be busie busiest congress we had no decades. live tuesday -- listen live c-span radioapp. federal reserve chair yellen testified before the banking committee to give report. the committee will come to committee will come to order. today we will be receive testimony


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on