Guest Leads Effort to Combat Biden’s Drug Crisis & TCO Illicit Activity
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Michael Guest (R-MS), Vice Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, introduced the Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act (BEST Act). This legislation would reauthorize the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) and help stop the flow of illicit narcotics into the United States by thwarting the criminal activity of transnational criminal organizations (TCO). The BEST Act would enhance state and local law enforcement participation by supporting salary reimbursement for state and local municipalities that join BEST task forces. Furthermore, this effort would require both the Coast Guard Investigative Service and Coast Guard Intelligence participation in every maritime BEST, furthering collaboration and combating maritime smuggling.
“Due to the Biden administration’s reckless open border policies, illegal narcotics are flowing across our nation’s borders daily, fueling America’s drug crisis and impacting communities and families in my home state of Mississippi,” said Vice Ranking Member Guest. “Our country is suffering from the largest drug trafficking and drug overdose epidemics in the history of the United States. Thankfully, there is a federal task force dedicated to combatting the flow of illicit narcotics. I’m proud to lead the effort in taking steps towards protecting Americans and shutting down these illicit pathways.”
“I am proud to join my colleagues to compensate local law enforcement who serve on federal task forces that combat criminal organizations,” Stefanik said. “State and local law enforcement should be incentivized to participate in these initiatives, but requiring law enforcement agencies to pay their own way is presenting an unnecessary barrier. This bill will ensure our law enforcement agencies are properly reimbursed for their hard work and sacrifice to keep our communities safe.”
In response to the significant increase in violence along the southwest border in Mexico, the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as well as other federal, state, local, and international law enforcement officials created the Border Enforcement Security Task Force in Laredo, Texas, in 2005.
This program has experienced significant growth over the past decade and, as of today, has a total of 83 BEST units across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These teams are comprised of over 2,000 members who represent over 200 law enforcement agencies that have committed to jointly investigate transnational criminal activity along the Southwest and Northern Borders and at our nation’s major seaports.
Since inception through March of this year, their collective efforts have initiated more than 46,000 investigations, which have resulted in 56,000 criminal arrests, the seizure of 3.75 million pounds of narcotics, 32,000 weapons, and more than $860 million in cash and monetary instruments.