However, seizures of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin are trending substantially lower when compared to 2021, newly released U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shows.

The most noticeable decrease is in marijuana seizures. Crime and law enforcement experts tell Border Report that Mexican drug cartels are moving away from dealing pot due to legalization efforts in the U.S. and higher profit margins in the manufacturing of synthetic drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamines. Fentanyl seizures remain on track with last year’s numbers; meth seizures are slightly down.

“The cartels are faster and more agile and smarter than our reaction. They’re very quick to adjust,” says Victor M. Manjarrez Jr., a former U.S. Border Patrol chief agent and director of the Center for Law and Human Behavior at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Other “crops” transnational criminal organizations are favoring now more than marijuana include migrant trafficking. In Chihuahua, Mexican law enforcement officials say the cartels have replaced independent smugglers with gang members, and in neighboring Sonora, no one crosses into the U.S. without the Sinaloa cartel getting a fee, Arizona sheriff’s deputies have told Border Report. [Read More @ Border Report]