Examining Illicit Cross-Border Drug Flows Within the Pacific Northwest

Joseph Patrick Larsen, Western Washington University


After the attacks of September 11th, 2001 the American government placed a new emphasis upon domestic security and scrutiny soon fell upon the US-Canada border. From 2001 to 2011 there has been a great expansion of border security on the US-Canada border. It is the objective of this thesis to examine how increases in security along the US-Canada border following 9/11 have affected or changed drug smuggling in the Pacific Northwest. It is the central hypothesis of this thesis that the smuggling of drugs produced in British Columbia for American markets has been pushed into the interior of the Pacific Northwest, both to less used ports of entry and to between ports of entry. This thesis examines an area in which there is a profound dearth of scholarly research. The hypotheses of this thesis were tested through the examination of data related to drug smuggling arrests and drug seizures at the border. Additionally, interviews with relevant border stakeholders were conducted.