Sequestration Means More Drugs Will Be Arriving in South Florida

The epic partisan clusterfrick in Washington known as sequestration is sure to put the squeeze on government budgets down the line. But an immediate impact on Uncle Sam's spending is already registering in military circles -- specifically, deployment. What does that mean? Basically it means the neighborhood drug dealer is about to have some gangbuster product.

Let us explain.

As part of the military budget cuts caused by sequestration, the U.S. Navy has canceled the deployment of two frigates scheduled to patrol the Caribbean, according to the Virginian-Pilot. These boats were part of Operation Martillo, a massive Caribbean military initiative run out of the U.S. Southern Command in Doral.

A multination effort to choke off the drug flow to the U.S. through military presence, the operation has been successful, it you take the government numbers at face value. According to the Virginian-Pilot:

Last year, Operation Martillo ("martillo" means hammer in Spanish)
intercepted and captured $4 billion worth of cocaine, valued at $12
billion in street resale value; 25,000 pounds of marijuana, worth more
than $10 million on the streets; and $3.5 million in cash, according to
U.S. Southern Command.

But by stripping away the much-needed vessel support, those stats are only going to drop. And right now is not the time to let up drug patrols.

As we discussed in this January cover story, there are basically two channels for the drugs coming up from Central and South America: up through Mexico, or around through the Caribbean. The trade usually trends one way or another. Since Mexico has been doing a pretty good impression of the eighth circle of Dante's Inferno over the past few years, the Caribbean has become a more favorable route for smugglers trying to keep a low profile.

And when drugs come up from the Caribbean, they're landing in South Florida.

Take the trend, couple it with a lower amount of U.S. military support, and add in the fact that European nations patrolling the region are also pulling out their ships for budget reasons and you've got a perfect set-up for increased drug traffic to our area. That means drugs, and more of the terrible byproduct of the trade.

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