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Tag: CBP

CBP Busts Woman with $40,000 Worth of Cocaine Hidden in Her Shoes

CBP found $40,000 worth of cocaine hidden in these shoes. Photo: CBP.

By Steve Neavling

CBP officers found $40,000 worth of cocaine hidden in the shoes of a Georgia woman who was returning on a flight from Jamaica. 

The officers stopped the 21-year-old woman at Hartsfield-Jacskon Atlanta International Airport on Sunday and found the cocaine in seven pairs of shoes that were stuffed in her bags. 

“Smugglers go through great lengths to conceal drugs from our officers,” Paula Rivera, CBP port director for the Area Port of Atlanta, said in a news release. “Narcotics interdiction remains a priority CBP enforcement mission, one that we take very seriously.”

The woman was turned over to Clayton County police. 

For CBP officers, it was just another day. CBP seizes 3,677 pounds of drugs on an average day.

Border Patrol Agents Accidentally Run Over Migrants, Killing One of Them, CBP Says

By Steve Neavling

A Honduran man was killed and another migrant rushed to the hospital after a Border Patrol vehicle accidentally ran over them in Kenedy County near Kingsville, Texas, last week, CBP said in a news release.

The incident occurred about 1 p.m. on April 29, when Border Patrol agents spotted fresh footprints in an area known for smuggling activity. 

As the agents searched for migrants, they ran over two men who were hiding in tall grass. The agents didn’t know they hit the men until a group of migrants emerged and informed them of what had happened. 

The migrants helped the agents locate the men, one of whom died at the scene. The other was transferred to a hospital via air ambulance and released later in the day.

“The initial investigation indicates BPAs were not aware anyone was burrowed in the grass nor were they aware anyone had been run over by a vehicle until informed by a migrant,” CBP said. 

The Kenedy County Sheriff’s Office and CBP Office of Professional Responsibility were called to the scene and are reviewing the incident.

CBP Seizes $4.3M Worth of Meth from Shipment of Cucumber Pickles

CBP found 217 pounds of meth in a shipment of pickles. Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

CBP officers found $4.3 million worth of methamphetamine in a shipment of cucumber pickles being hauled into Texas from Mexico. 

Officers assigned to the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility seized 114 packages of meth weighing 217 pounds from a tractor-trailer last week. 

The discovered the package after conducting a non-intrusive imagine (NII) system inspection. 

“This substantial quantity of hard narcotics will not make its final destination in the United States,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “This interdiction reinforces our officers’ role in advancing CBP’s border security mission by preventing dangerous drugs from entering and negatively impacting our communities.”

The case was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations. 

CBP Officer Charged with Excessive Force, Faces Up to 10 Years in Prison

CBP officer (Photo: CBP via Twitter)

By Steve Neavling

A Customs and Border Protection officer from the Calexico office has been charged with using unreasonable force on a person seeking admission into the U.S. from Mexico. 

Officer Marcos Valenzuela, 29, of El Centro, Calif., injured the unidentified person while on duty at the Calexico West Port of Entry in August 2019, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday. 

“The protection of the civil rights of all persons entering the United States remains a high priority of the Justice Department, and our office in particular,” Acting U.S. Attorney Grossman said in a news release. “All allegations of excessive force by law enforcement officers are investigated thoroughly and carefully reviewed to ensure public confidence in our commitment to redressing violations of Constitutional rights.” 

Details of the allegations weren’t immediately clear. 

“No one is above the law and this indictment should assure the public that the FBI is committed to rooting out any public servant who violates their oath – regardless of where they work,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner said. “Actions such as the ones alleged in this case violate an officer’s oath, the public’s trust, and damage law enforcement’s reputation. I want to thank Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility for their collaboration and partnership in bringing this case to fruition.”

Valenzuela, who faces up to 10 years in prison, is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court for a motion hearing on May 21. 

“All CBP employees are required and expected to abide by all laws they enforce,” CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) Special Agent in Charge Elizabeth Cervantes said. “CBP stresses professionalism, honor, and integrity in every aspect of its mission and CBP OPR is fully committed to investigating all allegations of misconduct while supporting the men and women who proudly uphold their duties to serve and protect.”

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.

Woman at JFK Airport Was ‘Full of Pellets’ of Cocaine, CBP Says

Cocaine seized from a traveler at John F. Kennedy Airport. (Photo: CBP)

By Steve Neavling

A woman returning to John F. Kennedy International Airport from the Dominican Republican had concealed 100 pellets of cocaine in her bra, vagina, anus, and purse, U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities said. 

Yerlina Lantigua Hernandez DeNova, an American citizen, was “full of pellets” and now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges, CBP said Tuesday. 

Authorities said they found three pellets of cocaine in her purse during an inspection on April 9. After she was escorted to a private room room for a more thorough search, CBP officers found pellets stuffed in her bra, and she admitted she had “inserted pellets vaginally and anally,” CBP said. 

A total of 3 pounds of cocaine was found. The estimated street value was more than $94,000. 

“This seizure is another example of our CBP officers being ever vigilant in protecting the United States from the distribution of these illicit drugs,” Marty Rabon, acting director of CBP’s New York Field Operations, said in a statement.

Border Patrol’s Encounters with Migrants Continue to Rise in Southern Arizona

By Steve Neavling

The number of migrants who are coming into contact with Border Patrol in Southern Arizona continues to rise. 

At the Yuma Sector, agents encountered about 11,800 migrants in March, an increase from about 5,100 in February, Tucson.com reports, citing CBP statistics.

At the Tucson Sector, agents encountered about 19,800 migrants in March, an increase from about 14,600 in February. 

Most of the encounters involved adult migrants without children, but the number of families traveling together and children traveling alone also is rising sharply. 

The Biden administration attributed the rise “to reasons which include violence, natural disasters, food insecurity, and poverty” in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Republicans blames Biden’s laxer border policies. 

Biden Wants Funding Increase to Investigate White Supremacy within CBP, ICE

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

President Biden’s budget proposal seeks to increase oversight of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to investigate complaints of white supremacy. 

Under the proposal, workforce oversight offices within CBP and ICE would receive $470 million, a 22% increase in funding, Reuters reports.

The idea is to ensure timely investigations of workforce complaints, including “those related to white supremacy or ideological and non-ideological beliefs.”

The impetus for the increased oversight wasn’t immediately clear, but the Biden administration has prioritized combating domestic extremism, which a Homeland Security report in 2020 described as “the most persistent and lethal threat” to the U.S.