Commentary: Border speed pass program isn't working

Drug dealers in Mexico apparently are taking full advantage of a United States program that's supposed to speed passage at border checkpoints. The program, called the Custom-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, maintains a registry of trucking companies that agree to do background checks on employees, fence in their facilities, track their trucks and deal with vendors who are likewise certified.

In exchange for agreeing to these guidelines, reports the Associated Press, most of the trucks with these registered companies roll over the border in about 20 seconds, avoiding inspection delays.

The problem is, it isn't working. Among the 10 percent of the trucks that are checked, authorities have found lots of contraband, including in one week in April, eight tons of marijuana. Mexican companies have accounted for half of the 71 security violations over the last two years, though they make up 6 percent of the registered trucking firms.

Truck drivers are under the gun, literally. Drug smugglers offer them bribes, and if they don't accept, they might be killed. That's an easy choice.

To read the complete editorial, visit The (Raleigh) News & Observer.