Sat September 21, 2013
Best Of The Border (9/16 - 9/20)
The road to the United States is paved with danger for tens of thousands of immigrants who come here illegally. The latest hot spot for illegal crossings is along the southern Texas border, where immigrant apprehensions have doubled in the last four years.
Seventy miles north of the border, in Brooks County, Texas, locals are faced with a rising number of immigrant deaths.
"It's rough country," rancher Lavoyger Durham said. "You've got coyotes, you've got snakes, you got all kinds of insects."
A new survey ranks the United States 11th in the number of reported plague cases around the world. Of the cases found in the U.S. over the last decade, most infections were acquired in the Southwest.
Drug distribution rings operate an illicit export business that depends on freeways that run from California and Arizona to Canada. If you drive these freeways, chances are you have passed a car or truck secretly holding a cargo of heroin, meth or cocaine.
Drug trafficking touches every city, every small town in every state in the West. And one smuggling ring operated from Arizona to Washington State.
The drug export industry is evolving. Experts say heroin is back on the rise, fueled in part by prescription drug abuse. And while the supply side of the business may change, the demand remains strong.
"Everybody kind of watches out for each other because they know what it's like to be sick when you don't have your heroin," said Linda Wickerham, a heroin user in Portland, Ore. "And so even if I have a little bit, I'll share it with my other two friends because I know what it's like being sick."