Come morning we roll into a military checkpoint, officers armed with assault rifles behind sandbag bunkers. All passengers are ordered to exit the bus as the luggage compartments are searched. The soldiers attempt to coax drug sniffing dogs into the compartments with tennis balls on strings but get no K9 compliance. The next stop comes barely 10 miles later. An officer in a pressed white shirt bearing a large gold police star requests to see my Mexican entry card.This was interesting for me because I've had the opportunity to watch some outstanding K9 dogs at work in Canada and the United States. It takes a lot of good instruction and training for both the dog and handler to get to the point where they can work effectively together. Now there could be any number of reasons why these dogs did not perform on this particular occasion (fatigue, heat, etc). However, I also wonder what kind of ongoing training and practise the handlers and their dogs are receiving.
As he gets closer to Tijuana, there is an increase in the number and severity of the checkpoints:
Fifteen hours north of Mexico City. The intensity of the checkpoints increases dramatically. The bus is boarded one or twice per hour by gangs of unidentified men carrying pockets full of tools. Highway 24, marker 127. A group of 4 surround my seat at the rear of the bus, asking questions and sizing me up with sinister expressions. These people have the look and feel of thugs, not cops. They move back outside but the bus can't yet depart because another group of cop-thugs is dismantling parts of the vehicle's exterior with power drills, looking behind panels and inside the engine compartment.Garth concludes his article by asking an important question:
Busses are the main form of transportation in Mexico. How can the government allow their infrastructure to suffer so severely? The drugs searched for in Mexico are bound for the USA, not Mexico, so again, why would the Mexican government be willing to cripple a vital transportation infrastructure?