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Home | Tag Archives: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Tag Archives: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Busy weekend at El Paso Ports of Entry; Multiple fugitive arrests, drug busts

This past weekend, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers saw an influx of arrests for wanted fugitives, with a total of 10 arrests made throughout the El Paso, West Texas and southern New Mexico regions.

Arrests made during the weekend involved crimes ranging from aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a controlled substance, hit and run, and neglect of a child.

CBP officers at the Paso Del Norte port of entry started off the weekend Friday, May 15, with one arrest of a wanted subject for the crime of theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Saturday, May 16, area ports were even busier with one wanted fugitive apprehended at Paso Del Norte, one at the Bridge of the Americas, two arrests at Ysleta, and one at Santa Teresa.

On Sunday, May 17, CBP officers ended the weekend with two fugitive arrests at Ysleta port of entry, one arrest at the Bridge of the Americas, and one arrest at Presidio port of entry.

Additionally, a large drug seizure was made at the Bridge of the Americas on Saturday, with over 126 pounds of marijuana seized from a 52-year-old U.S. citizen.

The marijuana was found in a 2003 Ford Explorer when a CBP drug sniffing dog swept the vehicle resulting to a positive alert for narcotics. The subject was turned over the Homeland Security Investigations for prosecution.

“CBP is committed to finding and arresting wanted persons attempting to evade justice. Our officers ensure that they are turned over to the proper authorities to be held accountable for their crimes.” CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha.

“We live in the communities we serve and do all we can to keep them safe and secure.”









CBP Officers snag large marijuana load at Columbus Port of Entry

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Columbus port of entry seized 334 pounds of marijuana earlier this week.

CBP officers found the load just after 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, when a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado arrived for inspection from Mexico.

The CBP officer at the primary inspection referred the driver for an intensive inspection, during which they located the drug load hidden in the truck’s bed.

“CBP Officers at the Columbus port of entry remain vigilant and focused on all threats in an effort to protect our country and community from dangerous drugs,” said Columbus Port Director Tony Hall. “Officer experience and technology played a vital role in stopping this attempt to smuggle over 300 pounds of marijuana.”

The driver, 20 year old Inocente Rivera of Ascensión, Chihuahua, Mexico appeared in federal court in Las Cruces, New Mexico on May 15 for an initial appearance on a criminal complaint charging him with possession with intent to distribute 164.4 kilograms of marijuana.

According to the criminal complaint, Rivera allegedly committed the offense in Luna County, New Mexico on May 12.

“He tried to enter the United States at the port of entry in Columbus, New Mexico allegedly with 305 wrapped bundles of marijuana hidden in the cargo bed of the vehicle he was driving,” CBP officials shared from the complaint. “Rivera allegedly intended to distribute the smuggled marijuana in the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspected the vehicle and located the hidden contraband.”

Rivera is currently in custody pending a detention hearing on May 19; if convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.  CBP officials add that a criminal complaint is only an accusation; a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Photo courtesy CBP

CBP extends temporary closure of trusted traveler program enrollment centers

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will extend the temporary closure of Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers until at least June 1, 2020.

CBP officials say they are taking this precautionary measure to minimize the exposure of CBP personnel and the public to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

 The temporary closure applies to all public access Global Entry enrollment centers, NEXUS enrollment centers, SENTRI enrollment centers and FAST enrollment locations.

Global Entry mobile enrollment events are also paused until further notice.

Conditionally-approved applicants who seek an enrollment center interview will need to reschedule after June 1,” CBP officials shared. “These applicants are encouraged to check their e-mail and Trusted Traveler Program accounts for further information. CBP will continue to monitor the situation in order to resume enrollment centers interviews as soon as possible.”

CBP’s Enrollment on Arrival program will remain operational. Conditionally-approved Global Entry applicants will be able to complete the enrollment process when arriving on an international flight at any of the 60 airports that offer this program.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, CBP extended the period of time that Trusted Traveler Program applications remain active.

All applicants now have 485 days from the date of their application to complete the enrollment process.  In addition, CBP will extend for up to 18 months the Trusted Traveler Program benefits of members who apply for renewal before their current membership expires.

CBP Officers seize meth load at El Paso Port of Entry

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing in El Paso, Texas seized a large quantity of methamphetamine Thursday afternoon.

CBP officials share that the seizure was made just before 2 p.m. when a large box-truck entered the Bridge of the Americas port of entry commercial cargo facility from Mexico. CBP officers selected the shipment for an inspection.

Over 90 pounds of methamphetamine were discovered inside a piece of machinery that was manifested as an industrial magnetic-separator.

A canine unit alerted to the presence of narcotics and an x-ray image revealed suspicious anomalies within the equipment.

“A drug smuggler’s creativity in attempting to hide their contraband in a commercial shipment such as this one is discovered by leveraging all our resources and none is as important as an officer’s experience and persistence,” said CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha.

The drugs were seized and the case remains under investigation.

CBP working to facilitate Thanksgiving Travel along the border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso Office of Field Operations encourages travelers to plan ahead, apply for I-94 travel permits online and utilize Ready Lanes as CBP prepares to implement measures to facilitate Thanksgiving weekend holiday traffic.  

“CBP is looking to add staffing at El Paso area ports of entry during those periods where traffic figures historically have climbed for both the Thanksgiving holiday and the Black Friday shopping period,” said El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha.

“As always we thank the traveling public for their patience during this busy period and for using available technology to expedite their crossing.”

All El Paso ports strongly encourage travelers to apply for their tourist permits online. Travelers receive a provisional I-94 after submitting their application and payment online.

To finalize the I-94 process, travelers must present themselves at a port of entry within seven days of their application to be interviewed by a CBP officer, submit biometric fingerscans and a photo is taken. For more information about filing an I-94 electronically, please consult the following link.

CBP officials also encourage travelers to obtain and utilize radio-frequency identification technology (RFID)-equipped travel documents such as U.S. passport cards and the newer versions (i.e. since 2011) of the border crossing card and resident alien card so that they can utilize Ready Lanes.

Processing in Ready Lanes is 20 percent faster than normal lanes and provide a time savings of up to 20 seconds per vehicle. CBP encourages travelers to obtain RFID entry documents to use Ready Lanes and enroll in trusted traveler programs this holiday weekend and at all times.

Members of the traveling public can monitor Border Wait Times via this link or also obtain the BWT app on their smartphone via Apple App Store and Google Play (CBP BWT) so that they can observe the wait times and make an informed decision on which bridge to use. These wait times are updated on an hourly basis.

The city of El Paso also has cameras at three of the city’s four border crossing which the public can also use as a resource. Those planning to travel east from El Paso may want to consider using the Marcelino Serna/Tornillo crossing while those heading west may explore options at the Santa Teresa port.

Also to avoid any potential delays or fines due to travelers bringing prohibited/restricted agricultural items, CBP encourages travelers to declare all agricultural items to a CBP officer upon arrival and before making their journey to consult the Know Before You Go guide at the following link.

This includes the recently announced prohibition on the importation of peppers and tomatoes from Mexico.

Leadership at the El Paso port expects to open as many lanes as possible to facilitate the increase in border crossers and those seeking I-94 documents. The port is also working with the city of El Paso to identify peak periods where the city will support additional inspectional resource allocation.

Travelers going to Mexico at the Presidio port can expect longer than normal waits heading south because of construction.

The Marcelino Serna/Tornillo and Fort Hancock ports will adjust staffing to accommodate expected traffic increase.

Traffic is expected to be heavy at the Santa Teresa crossing. All lanes will be opened as needed and leadership will monitor traffic patterns.

The Columbus port expects to have 2-3 lanes open during critical periods and will add staffing at the remote Antelope Wells crossing to expedite the issuance of I-94 documents.

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