Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Increased drug enforcement initiatives within the United States parallel the international' escalation of the war on drugs. Curbing the flow of narcotics into the country has seemed an unconquerable task.The tremendous influx of illegal substances and the heightened domestic production of both natural and synthetic' drugs prompt governments at every level to attempt to restrict drug trafficking within the United States.' The enforcement escalation is highlighted by a vociferous executive and congressional commitment to the eradication of the drug problem, improved drug detection technology, and a dedication of increased manpower and resources to enforcement efforts.'

Detecting illegal substances during transportation is a logical and convenient focus of drug control efforts. Imports of drugs are concentrated along the coasts, through international airports, and along the southern borders. After the drugs enter the United States drug traffickers must transport their goods throughout the country for distribution. Seizing the opportunity to contain the flow of illegal substances, the police and other drug enforcement officials enhance surveillance of commercial transportation systems, highways, private planes, and boats in order to detect couriers during transit. Increasingly, however, surveillance efforts challenge established concepts of privacy.