With television cameras rolling and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on hand in San Diego, the Coast Guard announced late last month that it had set a new record for cocaine seizures at sea—more than 455,000 pounds through September 11, topping last year’s record.
At last we’ve turned the corner in the war on drugs. Right?
Don’t bet on it. When Americans read about ever-larger drug busts, or when we watch television shows about drug enforcement, we get the impression that drug enforcement agents are clever and innovative, always staying one step ahead of the sinister pushers. But in reality the drug distributors are the innovative ones—because they have a financial incentive to be.
That’s why we keep reading the same story.
In 2015 the Coast Guard announced the largest submarine drug bust ever, $181 million worth of cocaine.
In 2001 a Coast Guard crew seized more than 13 tons of cocaine in what authorities called “the largest cocaine seizure in U.S. maritime history.”
Back in 1998 Attorney General Janet Reno and Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin announced more than 100 indictments and the seizure of some $150 million from Mexican banks, representing a successful conclusion to “the largest, most comprehensive drug money laundering case in history.”
Indeed, it seems that not a week goes by without a report of “one of the biggest drug busts in Utah’s history,” “Brooklyn’s biggest drug bust in history,” “one of the biggest drug busts in New York City history,” “the largest drug bust ever in the United States outside of Florida,” or—drum roll, please—”the largest drug bust in history.” Visit CBSNews.com for pictures of “17 massive drug busts.”