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Archive for April, 2020

More Than TSA Employees Have Confirmed Coronavirus Infections

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The number of TSA employees who have tested positive for coronavirus has topped 100.

In just the past 14 days, 58 screening officers and 21 non-screening employees have confirmed infections in 19 states.

More than three dozen TSA employees tested positive more than two weeks ago.

TSA screeners are vulnerable because they have close contact with a lot of travelers.

Several airports have multiple TSA employees sick, including Newark Liberty International and John F. Kennedy
International.

Federal lawmakers have been calling on the TSA to better protect its employees and the public.

Federal Agents Seize $30M Worth of Drugs in ‘Sophisticated’ Smuggling Tunnel

Drugs found inside a half-mile tunnel. Via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal agents seized thousands of pounds of drugs in a “sophisticated” smuggling tunnel that extends from a warehouse in Mexico to another warehouse in San Diego.

Inside the half-mile tunnel were 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, 3,000 pounds of marijuana and more than two pounds of fentanyl worth nearly $30 million, ICE announced in a news release.

The tunnel included reinforced walls, ventilation, lighting and an underground rail system.

“I’m proud of the excellent work performed by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents, as well as U.S. Border Patrol and Drug Enforcement Administration agents as integrated partners of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force. Their tenacity made the difference in shutting down this tunnel,” said Cardell T. Morant, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Diego. “I hope this sends a clear message that despite the ongoing public health crisis, HSI and our law enforcement partners will remain resilient and continue to pursue criminal organizations responsible for the cross-border smuggling of narcotics into the United States.”

Nearly 9,000 Homeland Security Employees Quarantined Or Infected with Coronavirus

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Nearly 300 Homeland Security employees have confirmed coronavirus infections and more than 8,500 have been quarantined at a time when the agency is needed to combat the highly contagious disease.

An internal Homeland Security report obtained by the Los Angeles Times identifies 292 employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 8,524 who are under quarantine.

Homeland Security plays a critical role in combating the virus, with departments such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Transportation Security Administration, the Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“These numbers underscore the risks that the men and women at DHS are taking every day to protect public safety,” John Sandweg, former acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in the Obama administration, said. “Measures can and should be taken to protect the workforce, including limiting operations to only those that are only mission critical to protect national security and public safety.”

The union that represents Border Patrol employees said the Trump administration is “exposing them to dangers that are unnecessary.”

“I don’t think the agency is doing enough to protect agents or individuals we come in contact with, period,” said Brandon Judd, president of the union.

Judd said six Border Patrol agents have confirmed infections and an addition 42 have been quarantined.

Coronavirus Fears Don’t Stop Construction of the Border Wall in Arizona

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Construction on the wall on the Arizona border with Mexico has not stopped as the coronavirus outbreak spreads rapidly across the U.S.

Work crews are filling up motels, Airbnbs and mobile home camps in the town of Ajo, while nonessential construction has stopped in most of the country, The New York Times reports.

The theory is that the wall will prevent the spread of the virus from Mexico to the U.S., even though health experts are skeptical.

In the meantime, residents in Ajo are worried that the influx of workers make them more susceptive to the coronavirus.

“This administration’s priority is to get the wall done. The rest of us might as well be damned,” Ajo resident Maria Singleton told the Times.

According to an Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Raini Brunson, the agency is following “government and CDC guidelines” as construction increases.

“As the guidance changes, decisions will be made as to how contractor employees will be affected,” Brunson added.