Over the past three years, the U.S. War on Drugs has brought $400 million in fines to rail shippers on the U.S.-Mexican border. Now, The Associated Press reports, the largest U.S. railroad company Union Pacific is refusing to pay for something it cannot control. Following accusations of negligence from the Justice Department, Union Pacific vice president Bob Grimaila says the railroad cannot be expected to “send unarmed personnel into Mexico to battle Mexican drug cartels that maliciously murder and wage a war against the Mexican military.”
Mexico’s powerful drug cartels, whose violence has cost over 39,000 lives since late 2006, earn an over $25 billion a year channeling drugs into the United States. The 8,000 trains that enter and exit the U.S. each year through 8 border crossings offer lucrative profits for shipments of multi-million dollar drug caches as well as automatic weapons going south.
Since 20 tons of marijuana had been confiscated on Union Pacific trains in the past two years, our government’s efforts at curbing narcoterrorism continue to prove themselves futile. The immense profits are obviously worth the risk to thousands of drug traffickers in Mexico, where income inequality is rampant.
Clearly the Mexican Army cannot control the illegal drug trade, so why are US-based railroad networks supposed to today? The shipping industry is being unfairly penalized for our misguided war on drugs, and UP deserves to be applauded for standing up against an unjust law.