Drugs come through ports of entry — ask El Chapo

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right about one aspect of security along the U.S. border with Mexico. Just ask “El Chapo.”

During the seemingly interminable battle over funding for border security, Pelosi, D-Calif., vowed not one dollar would be spent to construct new barriers meant to stop illegal immigrants. On the other hand, she insisted it is imperative that about $500 million be spent on new technology and infrastructure at ports of entry.

Much of President Donald Trump’s campaign for new barriers, mostly in rural areas, has rested on warnings they are needed to stop drug traffickers, human smugglers and other criminals.

But Pelosi maintained the president has it wrong. Most illegal drugs and guns, along with other contraband, come into the United States at official port of entry, she said. Those are the sites where the two countries are linked by highways. Border checkpoints are employed in an attempt to keep illegal goods from being smuggled into the United States.

Last week, in a New York City federal courtroom, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was convicted of various crimes committed while he ran a massive drug operation in Mexico.

Testimony during his trial made it plain Guzman’s vicious nature made him a drug kingpin. In addition to tales of how he killed competitors, sometimes personally, there were explanations of how his empire worked.

Billions of dollars’ worth of illegal drugs were funneled into this country in cars, trucks and rail cars that passed through ports of entry, testimony showed. One interesting method involved a shipment of canned jalapeno peppers in which cocaine was concealed.

So in this case, Pelosi is right. More money is needed for equipment to detect contraband at the ports of entry. More personnel should be deployed there, too.

Better barriers against illegal immigrants and the small-time criminals who smuggle guns, drugs and people across the border are essential. But so are better checks on those who bring tons of illegal drugs into our country through the ports of entry.