Former Special Agent, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
“As each new generation becomes more desensitized to shootouts and spillover violence, law enforcement will be at ever greater risk.”
Jamie Haase is a former special agent of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, where he investigated and prosecuted crimes including human trafficking, narcotics smuggling, and money laundering. Before that, he served as a U.S. Customs Inspector where his primary responsibilities included reviewing manifests, targeting shipments, and inspecting foreign arriving vessels and cargo for suspected contraband. He was involved in multiple narcotics seizures, most of which involved cocaine stashed aboard vessels that had transshipped through the Panama Canal. Throughout 2008 and 2009, he was stationed along the border in Laredo, Texas, working on a taskforce where he investigated several drug cases and seized thousands of pounds of marijuana. He also assisted in multiple investigations involving money and guns being smuggled from the U.S. into Mexico.
“It is completely unacceptable that the drug laws of the United States are to blame for so much death,” Jamie says. “I think I have always been against prohibition because of the inevitability of the laws of supply and demand,” he explains, “but it was my experience working on the border as a criminal investigator for ICE that fully opened my eyes regarding the horror that these futile drug laws cause. I believe that law enforcement officers, particularly those along the southwest border, are in more danger now than ever as a result of prohibition. As the Mexican government continues to engage the cartels, the grave consequences of the nation’s hushed illicit drug industry are coming to light. And as each new generation becomes more desensitized to constant shootouts and killings, law enforcement will be at ever greater risk.”
During his time on the border, Jamie was particularly struck by the contrast between punishment for the end user versus drug smugglers, who are often able to evade and game prosecution. “The prosecutorial guidelines for marijuana possession along the border are so high that many cases aren’t even prosecuted, at least at the federal level,” Jamie says. “Drug smugglers are aware of this, and they often become familiar with the thresholds and utilize the government’s policies to their advantage. This is significant because the consequences for traffickers are often minimal, yet in contrast the punishment for the end user is usually severe. This creates an indefinite and inconsistent cycle that will not end until reformed drug laws are enacted.”
Eventually, Jamie resigned from government work, primarily over his views against marijuana prohibition. He believes that once the marijuana industry is regulated and controlled, the Mexican government will finally have a fighting chance against the brutal drug cartels, and this in turn will lead to less spillover violence here in the United States. Jamie now lives in South Carolina.