Customs, Border and Immigration News

GOP Senator Introduces Bill Cracking Down On Drug Cartel Scouts Caught At The Border

Republicans plan to introduce a bill Wednesday increasing punishments for scouts working on behalf of cartels in Mexico, according to a copy of the bill obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The bill, led by Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, seeks to increase fines and impose a maximum prison sentence of 10 years for individuals helping the cartels by alerting them to law enforcement to better smuggle people and drugs across the border, according to the text of the bill. Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma will back the bill as co-sponsors.

“As our border crisis continues to spiral out of control, the cartels are only getting smarter and more advanced. ‘Spotters’ have become a critical player in how cartels evade law enforcement,” Ernst said in a statement to the DCNF. “By implementing stricter penalties on spotters, it not only deters new individuals from joining cartel efforts, but it prevents more experienced spotters who have been apprehended from quickly returning to action.”


Cartels employ scouts to watch for Border Patrol agents and law enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border. The DCNF recently reported from an area of the border frequented by those scouts in Sasabe, Arizona, where cartel drug runners evade law enforcement detection.

“There’s scouts throughout all those hills. It wouldn’t even be far-fetched to say that there’s individuals up there right now watching us as we’re sitting here,” National Border Patrol Council Vice President Art Del Cueto told the DCNF as he showed the area of the border.

“It looks real peaceful, and you don’t see anything coming across,” Del Cueto said.

Ernst recently returned from a trip with a delegation of Republican senators to Texas’ Rio Grande Valley border sector to meet with local and federal law enforcement officials about the border crisis.

Border Spotter Bill Text by Daily Caller News Foundation

The Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) didn’t respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

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