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Tag: Border

Biden Picks Tucson Police Chief Magnus to Head CBP

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, picked to lead CBP.

By Steve Neavling

President Biden is nominating Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

Magnus, who has served as Tucson’s police chief since 2016, is a vocal critic of former President Trump’s immigration policies and a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

If confirmed by the Senate, Magnus has a tough job ahead of him as the nation grapples with a border crisis and the separation of migrant children from their families. 

Magnus also would be the first openly gay CBP commissioner. 

On Monday, Biden announced his pick to lead the DEA – former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram.

Mayorkas Defends Administration’s Handling of Border in First House Hearing As Secretary

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Screen shot via U.S. House.

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas clashed with Republicans Wednesday on how the Biden administration is handling the boarder amid an influx of migrants. 

In his first appearance before lawmakers as the Homeland Security secretary, Mayorkas said the border situation was a challenge but not a crisis as depicted by Republicans. 

“I’m not spending any time on the language that we use. I am spending time on operational response to the situation at the border,” Mayorkas told the House Homeland Security Committee.

Mayorkas described former President Trump’s policy of separating children as a humanitarian crisis. 

“The situation at the southwest border is difficult,” Mayorkas said. “We are working around the clock to manage it.”

Since last spring, illegal border crossings have sharply increased as poverty, hunger and gang violence grip Central America. In February, Border Patrol agents arrested 97,000 migrants for crossing the border illegally, a two-year high. 

Watch the committee hearing here:

Alarming Amount of Meth Disguised in Liquid Form Is Crossing Border

Seized liquid methamphetamine, via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Drug smugglers are crossing the border with an alarming amount of methamphetamine disguised in liquid form.

Federal authorities have found it in gas tanks, coolant containers, storage jugs, and bottles of water, pop and apple juice.

So far this fiscal year, feds have seized more than 141,000 pounds of meth, up from 68,585 the previous year.

After liquid meth crosses the border, drug dealers dehydrate it to return it to its crystal form.

“We have seen an increase in the methamphetamine seizures by various agencies to include DEA, DPS and Border Patrol, significant quantities of methamphetamine being smuggled,” Dante Sorianello, the assistant special agent in charge of the DEA in the San Antonio district, told News4SA.

Sharp Rise in Illegal Drug Seizures As Cartels Adapt to Coronavirus Pandemic

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities are reporting a steep rise in the seizure of illegal drugs as cartels adopt to new tactics during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan.

Most notably, meth seizures along the border through August have more than doubled over all of fiscal year 2019. Marijuana and fentanyl seizures also are higher than last year.

Via CBP.

“Cartels are constantly finding new and innovative ways to smuggle not only illegal immigrants, but also drugs,” Morgan said, BorderReport.com reports. “We saw a precipitous drop in March but they changed their tactics and procedures quickly and are right back on top.”

After a sharp decline in drug trafficking amid the pandemic, drug traffickers are now focusing on deadly drugs that are easier to hide and more cost-effective to ship. Morgan pointed to the seizure in mid-August of 158 pounds of liquid meth that were concealed in three cases of bottled water.

Seizures of drugs such as meth, heroin and fentanyl rose 56% in August compared to July.

The increase in drug trafficking has translated to a surge in violence in Mexican border towns, Morgan said. Since the end of August, Tijuana has reported 1,339 homicides, many of them drug-related.

Border Patrol Agent with Cache of Ammunition Was Arrested by Mexican Army

Border marker at San Ysidro Port of Entry, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An off-duty Border Patrol agent was arrested by Mexican army soldiers on claims that he crossed the border into Juárez with a cache of firearm ammunition.

The agent, whose identity wasn’t disclosed, was charged but later released after U.S. and Mexican authorities discussed the case, El Paso Times reports.

The agent was crossing the border in a personal vehicle using an international bridge connecting El Paso and Juárez on Aug. 4. A border inspection allegedly uncovered 30 rounds of ammunition, a loaded firearm magazine and a bulletproof vest.

“We don’t know what he came to do or what he wanted to do,” Mexican army Gen. Miguel Angel Hernandez said at a briefing on an unrelated issue.

In a statement, Border Patrol said, “Following a series of meetings between U.S. and Mexican authorities the agent was released and returned to the U.S. the morning of August 5.”

Virtual Surveillance Towers Show Promise As Alternative to Steel, Concrete Border Walls

Construction of a border wall, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Steel and concrete border walls get all the media hype, but a new mobile technology may prove to be a far more effective and inexpensive way to combat illegal immigration.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is trying out telescoping surveillance towers on the Arizona border that can track illegal crossers with infrared and daytime cameras, along with laser range-finders, NPR reports. Capable of tracking a target miles away, the autonomous surveillance towers can be mounted on a pickup truck and operated remotely.

“The camera sees something, it’s going to alert and send that information to an agent in the field. So my iPhone will have an app on it and that information will come directly to me,” Kelly Good, deputy executive director of CBP’s Program Management Office Directorate, says.

Steel and concrete walls, however, appear to be the Trump administration’s priority.

“We now are in a time where we can build this virtual border wall technology. We have that already. I mean, you got the autonomous surveillance towers,” Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat from a border district, says. “But there’s political pressure from the White House. They’re saying, ‘Build me the wall. Get me miles.’ “

Feds Find ‘Most Sophisticated Tunnel in U.S. History’ at Border with Mexico

Inside the unfinished tunnel, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The discovery shocked federal agents: An unfinished tunnel that ran from San Louis, Ariz., to a Mexican neighborhood featured a ventilation system, electrical wiring, water lines, a rail system and extensive reinforcement.

“This appears to be the most sophisticated tunnel in U.S. history, and certainly the most sophisticated I’ve seen in my career,” Carl E. Landrum, acting chief patrol agent with the Border Patrol’s Yuma sector, said, The Associated Press reports.

Discovered by Homeland Security Investigations in late July, officials believe it was intended for smuggling.

The tunnel was 3 feet wide and 4 feet high.

Excavation work on the tunnel, via ICE.

CBP Awards $289.5M Contract for 17 Miles of Wall Construction in Laredo Sector in Texas

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

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection has announced a $289.5 million contract to build about 17 miles of contagious new border walls within Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector in Webb County, Texas.

Fisher Sand and Gravel Company, DBA Fisher Industries, received the contract, CBP said Monday.

With the apprehension of nearly 22,000 undocumented immigrants and the seizure of more than 30,000 pounds of drugs so far this fiscal year, the Laredo Sector is one of the busiest in the U.S.

Most of the illegal activate is occurring in areas where the sector lacks infrastructure, access and technology, CBP says.

The plan is part of President Trump’s aggressive push for new wall construction.

“These projects will improve Laredo Sector’s ability to impede and deny illegal border crossings and the drug and human smuggling activities of transnational criminal organizations,” CBP said.