9OYS Border Watch
Border Patrol program aims to keep students away from drugs
An anti-smuggling program will be offered to Nogales schools beginning next week.
Reporter: Alexis Fernandez
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Nogales High School freshman, Jeovanne Gomez, Christina Brentley, and Isabella Osorio say they know all too well about the pressures of drug use.
"People think that if you do that then you're going to be popular or admire you, but I don't believe in that," said Osorio.
Even though they say they won't use, Border Patrol wants to keep them from carrying the drugs across the border and into the hands of those who will.
Agents will be in Nogales schools next week for the ongoing anti-smuggling program "Operation Detour."
"They educate our youth on the consequences of what can happen if they take part in activities such as narcotics and human smuggling," said agent Brent Cagen, with Border Patrol.
Agent Cagen says the Tucson area is one of the busiest in the nation for drug activity.
In 2011 alone, a million pounds of drugs were seized, many of which involved teens smuggling marijuana.
He says educating teens is the first step in fighting back. But is it working?
"We've seen a major difference, our narcotic seizures have gone up significantly and we've seen numbers as far as arrests go down," he said.
Santa Cruz Country Sheriff Tony Estrada says it's just one tool in the war on drugs.
"Being here along the border presents a lot of opportunity for these kids, a lot of enticement, so I think it's important that you bring those issues to them."