OHAWK NATION OF AKWESASNE -- The NYPD has gone on the reservation -- sending its drug czar upstate to try to help cut off a massive pipeline of pot and ecstasy to the city run by Mohawk Indian smugglers on the Canadian border.
"I was astounded at how lenient the border is," said Chief Joseph Resnick, head of the NYPD's narcotics division.
He spoke after a trip six weeks ago to the Akwesasne reservation, which straddles the US-Canadian border and which he said supplies most of the high-potency marijuana and ecstasy sold on city streets.
The feds say that in the last 10 years, more than $1 billion worth of marijuana has come through the reservation, which stretches five miles along the banks of the St. Lawrence River.
Smugglers traverse the fast-moving water in Jet Skis and high-powered speedboats. When the river freezes, they switch to snowmobiles.
The contraband is then packed into vans or trucks and driven down the New York State Thruway, authorities said.
The crossing, featured in last year's Oscar-nominated movie "Frozen River," is also a major route for illegal immigrants as well as huge quantities of untaxed liquor and cigarettes, investigators said.