Legislation would reauthorize the Border Enforcement Security Task Force, help stop the flow of illicit narcotics into the U.S. by thwarting the criminal activity of TCO.
Congressman Michael Guest (R-MS), Vice Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, introduced the Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act (BEST Act).
The BEST Act would reauthorize the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) and help stop the flow of illicit narcotics into the United States by thwarting the criminal activity of transnational criminal organizations (TCO).
Congressman Guest said that due to the Biden administration’s “reckless open border policies,” illegal narcotics are flowing across the country’s borders daily, fueling America’s drug crisis and impacting communities and families in Mississippi.
“Our country is suffering from the largest drug trafficking and drug overdose epidemics in the history of the United States. Thankfully, there is a federal task force dedicated to combatting the flow of illicit narcotics. I’m proud to lead the effort in taking steps towards protecting Americans and shutting down these illicit pathways,” Guest said.
In 2005, the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as well as other federal, state, local, and international law enforcement officials, created the Border Enforcement Security Task Force in Laredo, Texas.
The creation of BEST was in response to the significant increase in violence along the southwest border in Mexico.
According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website, the primary mission of HSI’s Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) is “to combat emerging and existing Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO) by employing the full range of federal, state, local, tribal and international law enforcement authorities and resources in the fight to identify, investigate, disrupt and dismantle these organizations at every level of operation.”
“The BEST investigative model is a comprehensive response to the growing threat to border security, public safety and national security. BESTs eliminate the barriers between federal and local investigations (access to both federal and state prosecutors) and close the gap with international partners in multinational criminal investigations,” the website continued.
Since inception through March of this year, BEST’s collective efforts have initiated more than 46,000 investigations, which have resulted in 56,000 criminal arrests, the seizure of 3.75 million pounds of narcotics, 32,000 weapons, and more than $860 million in cash and monetary instruments.
As of today, the BEST program has a total of 83 units across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.