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Homeland Security

1969 Operation Intercept

In the late 1960's U.S. officials believed that the drug problem in the United States had reached crisis proportions and they partially blamed Mexico as a major supplier. In 1969, the Nixon Administration did not believe Mexico was doing enough to prevent drugs crossing the United States/Mexico border. The Nixon administration launched a surprise, uni-lateral effort, Operation Intercept. In 1969, in an effort to drug stop trafficking across the Southwest Border, the Nixon Administration ordered that each person and vehicle crossing the border be inspected. The Nixon Administration hoped this would pressure Mexico into placing more resources into anti-drug efforts.

However, Operation Intercept, as the project was called, tied up border traffic, angered the Mexican government, and disturbed the economy on both sides of the border. Operation Intercept essentially closed the Mexican border. As a result, Operation Intercept was soon terminated. Recognizing that interdiction alone was not a successful strategy, the United States Government subsequently increased aid to Mexico, and offered greater cooperation and technical assistance to eradicate cannabis and opium poppy plants.



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