'Trusted' label puts target on backs of some NAFTA carriers

| November 30, 2009

Apparently being a trusted carrier and a secure carrier may not always be the same thing. At least not when it comes to crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.

A recent Associated Press story revealed that drug dealers are targeting Mexican trucking companies that use a Free and Secure Trade Lane, or FAST Lane, crossing into the United States. 

Some drivers for companies that are a part of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, or C-TPAT, have allegedly felt pressured by drug gangs to help smuggle contraband. Drug dealers offer plata-or-plomo, which is Spanish for silver or lead. In other words, accept a bribe or take a bullet.

Part of the problem is while participants in the program are kept secret by the authorities, carriers often advertise their participation in the program in the interest of generating more business.

Trade between the United States and Mexico is vital to both countries’ economies. So is security. Both countries must do everything necessary to address this issue immediately.

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