Senator: ‘Too many illegally-smuggled opioids, drugs, and weapons make their way across our borders and into Missouri communities’

A Missouri Senator's legislation to help combat illegal drug trafficking into the U.S. cleared a major hurdle on Wednesday, July 26.

The U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) serves as the top-ranking Democrat, unanimously approved McCaskill’s bipartisan bill that targets transnational criminal organizations on the borders to address drug and weapons trafficking.

“Too many illegally-smuggled opioids, drugs, and weapons make their way across our borders and into Missouri communities,” said McCaskill, a former prosecutor. “A coordinated effort among federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement is a key way to combat drug and weapons trafficking — and protect the safety of Missourians and all Americans.”

The Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) program, which the bill reauthorizes, consists of teams that coordinate federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement efforts targeting drug trafficking and other transnational criminal activity. This bill updates current law to reflect changes in the Department of Homeland Security and the nature of the threat risk since BEST units were first authorized. BEST team investigations have led to over 13,000 arrests and significant drug and weapon seizures.

The legislation is also supported by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Senator Jon Tester of Montana. Now that the bill has been approved by the Committee, it awaits approval of the full Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill in May.