The Texas oil boom benefits drug smugglers?

May 22, 2014

Eagle Ford road
Eagle Ford road
Credit theeaglefordshale.com

New roads and the increased activities of the Texas oil boom are also helping another lucrative market- drug smuggling according to a recent story from KUT.

Most of the oil doings are located on private ranch lands.  The increased traffic and good roads provide an opportunity for smugglers.

“Because there are so many different companies, and so many different trucks going through that area, it provides a sort of way to blend in if you will,” National Journal writer Ben Geman tells The Texas Standard's David Brown. “Essentially what’s happening is you’ve got smugglers who are stashing marijuana, or other drugs, in trucks that are either 'cloned' to look like one of the industry trucks, or some type of truck that seems to fit right in driving around on these ranch lands.”

The situation has precipitated a partnership between law enforcement and oil and gas companies.  Together, a new program has been created called Integrated Frontline Resources Awareness Campaign (iFRAC).  The goal of iFRAC is to communicate suspicious activity and increase safety for workers.  The Border Patrol hopes the increased activity will also benefit their purpose.

"I was chatting with a border patrol agent … and he made the point, it's the yin to the yang," Geman explains. "On the one hand, all of these new or newly paved roads on private ranch land are providing some new conduits and new avenues for drug smugglers. On the other hand, you've got more eyes and ears out there in the field that several years ago didn't exist in the same way."

You can hear the conversation with Geman and Texas Standard’s David Brown at KUT.