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160 CBP Employees Tested Positive for the Coronavirus

Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

At least 160 Customs and Border Protection employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The employees, who include customs officers and border agents, are stationed in at least 20 cities in the U.S., according to the agency’s site dedicated to COVID-19.

There are 52 cases in New York City, 17 in Miami, and 10 in each Los Angeles and Newark.

This is the first time CBP released information on its employees impacted by COVID-19.

Other federal agencies are getting hit hard. More than 100 TSA employees in more than two dozen states have become infected.

Border Patrol Reverts to Quick Deportations to Protect Agents from Coronavirus

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Border Patrol in Arizona is reverting to quick deportations to protect agents from the coronavirus.

In the past, many people who illegally crossed the border were incarcerated and prosecuted.

Now, agents are deporting undocumented immigrants in “a matter of minutes,” Border Patrol spokesman Daniel Hernandez tells Arizona Public Media.

Instead of arresting migrants, they receive masks and a background check in the field before they are returned to a port of entry and deported.

It wasn’t immediately clear who many people have been deported this way or whether any of the undocumented immigrants were infected with the coronavirus.

First TSA Employee Dies from Coronavirus; More than 100 others have tested positive

TSA’s Francis “Frank” Boccabella III.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

It was only a matter of time.

More than 100 TSA employees, most of them screeners, have tested positive for the coronavirus since the U.S. outbreak began.

On Thursday, Francis “Frank” Boccabella III, an expositive detection canine handler at Newark Liberty International Airport, became the first TSA employee to die from the coronavirus.

Boccabella was only 39. He worked as a TSA officer since June 2004, when he started out screening air cargo at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“He is the first federal TSA employee who we have lost to COVID-19,” the TSA said in a news release. “The news of this loss strengthens our determination to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Weekend Series on Crime History: Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell

FBI Warns about Intruders Hijacking Video Calls Through Zoom

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Many Americans who are working from home are resorting to video conferencing apps. Schools also are using the apps for online classes.

One of the most popular apps, Zoom, has become a target to intruders who are hijacking video calls and posting hate speech and graphic images such as pornography.

The FBI calls it “Zoombombing,” which has become so popular the bureau recently issued a warning to users.

The bureau said it has been fielding a lot of complaints. School officials in Massachusetts said someone hijacked an online class through the video conferencing app and displayed swastika tattoos.

The bureau is asking the public to report incidents to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.

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.