How have the drug trade and a dramatic growth in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s ranks affected communities along the border with Mexico?

For insight, host Al Letson turns to reporter G.W. Schulz in El Paso, Texas, one of the nation’s busiest border crossings. Schulz has been reporting on the border along with Andrew Becker for years, unveiling the real implications of increasingly heightened security. You can read their investigations in our series, Crossing the Line.

One of the biggest surprises that Schulz encountered in his reporting on the Border Patrol: the sheer volume of drug busts by the agency – and the unintended consequences they bring to border communities.

His earlier investigation with Becker revealed how minor drug arrests at a border checkpoint in Eagle Pass, Texas, have put a severe financial strain on the county, highlighting the tough monetary consequences of the U.S. government’s strategy for curbing the nation’s supply of drugs and illegal immigration.

Dig Deeper

  • You can find out how many drugs were seized at the Border Patrol checkpoint near Eagle Pass between 2005 and 2011 on our interactive map.

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Jaena Rae Cabrera worked at The Center for Investigative Reporting until February, 2017. Jaena Rae Cabrera is a Web producer for Reveal. Prior to joining Reveal, Cabrera was Web producer for Renaissance Journalism, a San Francisco-based nonprofit specializing in training, technical assistance, consultation and grants to journalists for media innovations that strengthen communities. Cabrera received a master’s degree in library and information science from Syracuse University. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor's in journalism. Cabrera is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.