During a visit last week to the Cochise County, Arizona Sheriff’s Office, Rep. Steve King donned a confiscated backpack that was allegedly used to traffic cannabis across the border in an effort to highlight international drug smuggling. The Cochise County, Arizona Sheriff’s Office is located at a “stone’s throw” from the U.S.-Mexico border.
The congressman wore a hemp or burlap-looking tattered backpack that was confiscated by border officials during an attempt to smuggle cannabis over the border. “May be best anti-drug smuggler enforcement by a county in U.S.,” Rep. King tweeted. “Drug mules routinely carry up to 100 lbs 40-50 miles. This is about 48 lbs on my back.”
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels(born in Iowa)& me at briefing, Brisbee, AZ. May be best anti-drug smuggler enforcement by a county in U.S. Drug mules routinely carry up to 100 lbs 40-50 miles. This is about 48 lbs on my back. pic.twitter.com/fDN5mh22mp
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) July 31, 2019
Marijuana Moment reports that Rep. King believes building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico would slow the flow of drugs across the border. But the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in its 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment, stated that “the majority of marijuana smuggled into the United States occurs between the ports of entry on both the northern and southern borders.” Some believe that building a wall would have no effect on the level of drug trafficking through existing ports of entry.
In a second tweet, Rep. King examined a pile of trash in the desert, where he said that “drug mules wait for their pickup by cartel drivers.” He went on to tweet that “The location is littered with black water jugs, carpet shoes, backpacks and sleeping bags.”
The congressman’s past may play a role in how he views border control. Rep. King has repeatedly argued that there is nothing wrong with white supremacy. “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?” King asked The New York Times last January. Rep. King also called himself a white supremacist in a tweet. According to the Washington Post, Rep. King “was active in neo-Nazi circles in his youth.”
The congressman also blames immigrants on the prevalence of cannabis in the U.S. “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds—and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” he said. According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission though, federal agents processed fewer cannabis trafficking cases in 2018 than in the past.