As U.S. and Colombian authorities began closing smuggling routes through the Caribbean in the late 1980s and 1990s, Colombian criminals began smuggling cocaine and heroin through the Central American isthmus and Pacific routes. Both smuggling routes invariably led them to Mexico. In the world of organized crime, an individual who wants to smuggle an item into the United States knows they can count on their Mexican counterparts. With an intimate knowledge of the terrain, lists of corrupted officials on the payroll, and decades of perfecting smuggling skills, Mexicans can smuggle just about anything into the United States for the right price. The U.S.-Mexican border is a "soft-underbelly" and a porous border. As a result of the important trade relationship between the United States and Mexico, the border cannot be closed.