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Border Contraband

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BORDER CONTRABAND

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In Border Contraband, Díaz examines the reality of change in the smuggling contraband over the Texas-Mexico border. Díaz states that the innocence of smuggling could not relate to the violence witnessed and what was reported in the news, a difference which inspired him to write the book. For example, the news media indicated that any encounter between the Texas Rangers and the border smugglers would result in the border smugglers initiating violence and the officers shooting back and killing or wounding them while they escaped unhurt. The content in the news did not reflect what Diaz had witnessed as a child in the smuggling business.
Diaz notes that the initial smuggling was illegal but the items being ferried were not, unlike the tequila trafficking during prohibition and the following drug trade. The author notes that the accounts of smuggling were unbalanced due to the poor race relations at the time, and hence stories favored the perspective of law enforcement. However, he notes that most of the smugglers were not gangsters but were just evading tax. The first part concentrated on the period between 1848 and 1910 when Mexico and the United States focused on collective tariffs and the borderlands’ efforts to avoid the tariffs through smuggling. The second part started with the Mexican Revolution in 1910 when the security forces and national customs at the border moved to interdiction of prohibited items, mainly drugs, and guns. The author shows how increased restrictions have changed smuggling to the professional criminal business from the low-level mundane activity.
How customs agents address narcotics trafficking in the early decades of the 20th century
The beginning of the twentieth century saw the rise of demand and restrictions of alcohol and narcotics in the US. Consequently, people responded to such restrictions by forming narcotics trafficking organizations. However, the trade was different from the previous consumer goods trafficking, which was aimed to avoid excessive government tariffs. The narcotics trade was accompanied by increased violence, with little acceptance with on the borderlands.
The passing of the Harrison Narcotics Act in 1914 allowed the authorities to intercept drugs along the Rio Grande and imposed a sales tax on narcotics sale. In the United States, antinarcotics came from the public health and moralists debates.1 The US customs agents perceived people as smugglers depending on if they were entering or leaving the US. The tequileros were viewed as smugglers if they carried their alcohol north, but the American law did not consider them as smugglers when they moved illicit American goods to Mexico. Further, Texas Rangers have a record of racism and violence against Mexicans engaging in the narcotics trade.

Bibliography
Diaz, George T. Border Contraband: A History of Smuggling Across the Rio Grande. University of Texas Press, 2015.

--------------------------------------------
[ 1 ]. Diaz, George T. Border Contraband: A History of Smuggling Across the Rio Grande. University of Texas Press, 2015.
[ 2 ]. 1 Diaz, George T. Border Contraband: A History of Smuggling Across the Rio Grande. University of Texas Press, 2015.

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