Cochise County turning into a drug and human smuggling raceway as border crossings surge

A high-speed pursuit near the border in southeast Arizona is just another night for sheriff’s deputies trying to contain a raceway for human smuggling.
Published: Oct. 5, 2023 at 8:10 PM MST|Updated: Oct. 5, 2023 at 9:22 PM MST
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Cochise County, Arizona (CBS News) - The crisis gripping the southern border of the United States is turning Cochise County, Arizona, into a dangerous raceway for drug and human smuggling, often involving Americans — including teens — who are recruited by cartels through social media.

“We have over a hundred juveniles in the last 18 months that we’ve apprehended in this county smuggling, all the way to the age of 13 and 12 years of age down here, driving grandma’s car, a friend’s car, or mom and dad’s car down here, and it’s social media,” County Sheriff Mark Dannels told CBS News.

To combat the growing problem, Arizona implemented stringent felony human smuggling legislation last year. The majority of the more than 400 people arrested since then are American citizens who came from outside the county, Dannels said.

Many of them were lured into the illegal trade by drug cartels through social media posts and messages promising substantial financial rewards for speeding migrants away from the border.

Read the full story from CBS News Phoenix-based reporter Kris Van Cleave.

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