Yuma County has been identified by the ONDCP as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA). Of particular note is the operation of the Sinaloa Cartel in this area. The Sinaloa Cartel continues to be the most powerful cartel in the country and controls illicit networks and operations in the United States. Despite the arrest of Joaquin"El Chapo" Guzman-Loera, its narcotics business has continued uninterrupted. As a result, there have been no significant changes within the Sinaloa Cartel's hierarchy, or any changes in the illicit operations conducted by the Sinaloa Cartel.
Border Patrol's own experience with apprehensions between border crossings bears this out. In fiscal year 2018, there were over 26,000 apprehensions of illegal entrants
attempting to enter the United States between border crossings in the Yuma Sector. Also during fiscal year 2018, Border Patrol had over 1,400 separate drug-related events
between border crossings in the Yuma Sector,through which it seized over 8,000 pounds of marijuana, over 78 pounds of cocaine, over 102 pounds of heroin, over 1,700 pounds of methamphetamine, and over 6 pounds of fentanyl.
The replacement of ineffective pedestrian fencing in this area is necessary because the
older, wire mesh design is easily breached and has been damaged to the extent that it is
ineffective. Additionally, this area is notorious for border violence and narcotics
smuggling. Furthermore, while the deployment of vehicle barrier in the Yuma Sector
initially curtailed the volume of illegal cross-border vehicular traffic, transnational
criminal organizations quickly adapted their tactics switching to foot traffic, cutting the barrier, or simply driving over it to smuggle their illicit cargo into the United States. Thus, in order to respond to these changes in tactics, DHS now requires pedestrian fencing.