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Tag: CBP

CBP Arrest Rapper Vic Mensa After Allegedly Finding Drugs in Suitcase

Drugs allegedly found in the luggage of rapper Vic Mensa. Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

CBP officers arrested raper Vic Mensa at Washington Dulles International Airport over the weekend after allegedly finding illegal drugs in his luggage. 

Officers said they found 41 grams of LSD and more than 300 grams of psilocybin capsules, gummies, and mushrooms in the 28-year-old’s luggage after he arrived from Ghana at about 7 a.m. Saturday. 

Mensa’s real name is Victor Kwesi Mensah. 

Mensa was arrested and charged with felony narcotic possession. 

“Travelers can save themselves time and potential criminal charges during their international arrivals inspection if they took a few minutes to ensure that their luggage is drug free,” Daniel Escobedo, area port director for CBP’s Area Port of Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “Narcotics interdiction remains a Customs and Border Protection enforcement priority and we remain committed to working closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to ensure that those who transport illegal narcotics into the United States are investigated and prosecuted.”

On an average day, CBP process more than 650,000 travelers at airports, seaports and land border crossings.  

CBP Asks Public for Help Fixing Problems Caused by Trump’s Border Wall

One proposed fix is protecting culverts with drainage measures. Photo: CBP.

By Steve Neavling

CBP is seeking the public’s input on how border wall construction has caused problems in three Arizona counties. 

The agency plans to address some of the problems caused by the Trump administration’s 30-foot steel border wall, Arizona Public Media reports.

In an interactive document released this month, CBP shows how the wall has impacted wilderness in Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties.

Among the measures mentioned in the document are installing and maintaining small wildlife openings at the bottom of the walls and protecting culverts with drainage measures. 

Many miles of the border wall were erected in wildlife refuges and national forests.  

“The maintenance of roads, the building of structures to make sure that patrol roads do not erode away, that’s what really appears to be the main objective here, and not one of trying to restore our wild borderlands,” Myles Traphagen with the conservation nonprofit Wildlands Network said.

CBP Reports 10-Fold Increase in Fentanyl Seized in South Texas

The DEA seized 15,000 pounds of fentanyl in one year. Photo: Shutterstock

By Steve Neavling

CBP reported a more than ten-fold increase in fentanyl seizures in south Texas during fiscal year 2021. 

CBP officers at eight ports of entry from Brownsville to Del Rio seized 87,652 pounds of narcotics with a street value of $786 million, the agency said this week. 

They confiscated 41,713 pounds of marijuana, 8,592 pounds of cocaine, 33,777 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,215 pounds of heroin, 588 pounds of fentanyl, $10.4 million in unreported currency, 463 weapons and 84,863 rounds of ammunition. 

“Faced with significantly less traffic due to travel restrictions imposed for public health reasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the drug and contraband threat remained the same and our frontline CBP officers rose to the challenge to meet that threat head on,” Randy J. Howe, director of field operations at the Laredo Field Office, said in a statement. “Our significant gains in fentanyl and cocaine seizures underscore the deadly nature of the contraband we encounter, the need to utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect our officers and our continued resolve to carry out our vital border security mission.”

The seizures come at a time when U.S. authorities are seeing a surge in fentanyl overdoses. 

CBP Confiscates More than 1,300 Counterfeit Championship Rings

CBP confiscated more than 1,300 counterfeit championship rings. Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

CBP officers in Cincinnati have seized numerous shipments of counterfeit championship rings for professional sports. 

More than 1,300 counterfeit rings were confiscated over the past three months, along with many matching championships trophies, CBP announced Tuesday. 

The rings, which were cheaply made, were intercepted in 56 shipments, which originated from China. 

If genuine, the rings would be worth more than $982,000. 

They included rings for the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Bucks, University of Kentucky and NASCAR. 

“Part of CBP’s mission is to protect American consumers from purchasing these counterfeit products,” LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, director field operations in Chicago, said in a statement. “This seizure illustrates our commitment to stopping counterfeit products from China and protecting our nation’s economy and consumers from those intent on defrauding businesses and consumers alike.”

CBP Seized Records Amount of Fentanyl at Borders Last Year

The DEA and CBP are seizing record amounts of fentanyl. Photo: Shutterstock

By Steve Neavling

More fentanyl was seized at the border than heroin last year for the first time ever. 

Fentanyl seizures and overdoses reached record highs as the DEA tries to crack down on drug cartels that are pushing the drug, the Washington Examiner reports.

What makes it even more challenging is that drug users are unwittingly consuming fentanyl, which is being added to street drugs at alarming levels.

“Everything is potentially deadly right now, and people need to be aware,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram told ABC’s This Week in a recent interview.

CBP intercepted 11,200 pounds of fentanyl last fiscal year, which is more than double the amount seized in 2020. By comparison, CBP intercepted 5,400 pounds of heroin in fiscal year 2021. 

In 2013, when CBP began seizing fentanyl, only 2 pounds were seized. 

The DEA also seized a record amount of fentanyl last year.

“The drug threat today is different than it ever was before. Now, today, this is all synthetic or man-made. There’s an unlimited amount of these drugs that can be made,” Milgram said.

CBP Deletes Border Patrol Official’s Tweet about Arrest of ‘Potential Terrorist’

Photo: Shuttersotck

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol official’s tweet that said agents detained a “potential terrorist” was deleted because CBP said it violated protocols and contained “law enforcement sensitive information,” Fox News reports.

In a tweet on Dec. 20, Yuma Sector Chief Chris Clem said an unidentified 21-year-old man was arrested near Yuma, Ariz., the previous week. 

“#USBP #YumaSector agents apprehended a potential terrorist who illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico Thursday night,” Clem wrote. “The 21-year-old migrant from Saudi Arabia is linked to several Yemeni subjects of interest. #BorderSecurity is #NationalSecurity.”

In a statement, CBP spokesman Luis Miranda said the post was removed because “it contained law enforcement sensitive information, violating agency protocols.”

“All individuals encountered at or between U.S. ports of entry are screened and vetted against a broad range of law enforcement and intelligence information to determine if they pose a threat to national security or public safety, consistent with the law,” Miranda said.

Miranda added that the investigation is ongoing. 

Soon after Clem’s tweet, the Saudi embassy said the man pictured in the tweet was “not a Saudi citizen.”

CBP’s Entire Workforce Awarded Homeland Security Person of the Year

Executive Assistant Commissioner of Enterprise Services Benjamine “Carry” Huffman accepts the award from Kristina Tanasichuk, founder and CEO of the Government Technology and Services Coalition and executive editor of Homeland Security Today.

By Steve Neavling

U.S. Customs and Border Protection was given the 2021 Homeland Security Person of the Year award for its commitment to protecting Americans and safeguarding the borders. 

The award, which honors people who serve the homeland security mission, was given by Homeland Security Today to the entire 60,000-plus CBP workforce.

“I want to offer my sincere thanks to Homeland Security Today for recognizing us with this prestigious award,” Executive Assistant Commissioner Benjamine “Carry” Huffman said. “The men and women of CBP work tirelessly each day to ensure the safety of our borders and facilitate legitimate trade and travel throughout the worst pandemic in recent history, and it is humbling that Homeland Security Today sees and appreciates them.” 

CBP, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency with regular interaction with the public, continued its mission in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also helped the country rebound economically by preventing counterfeit goods from entering the country.

According to a news release: CBP’s numbers illustrate the agency’s impact:

“Air and Marine and Border Patrol personnel performed over 13,000 rescues in Fiscal Year 2021 of migrants left in dangerous situations by smugglers along the land and sea borders. CBP has adapted to changing migration patterns, deftly managing and surging resources as necessary, and performing admirable humanitarian work in the process. CBP personnel helped deliver 30 babies and provided excellent care to over 147,000 children over the course of the fiscal year. At the frontline of upholding U.S. Intellectual Property Rights, CBP fights to protect America’s innovation economy and the health and safety of consumers. In November alone, CBP seized nearly 1,545 shipments that contained counterfeit goods valued at more than $335 million.

In November 2021, CBP reopened the U.S. land and ferry ports of entry to non-essential travel, ensuring a smooth opening and working to process vehicles as quickly and safely as possible. In addition, CBP worked to fight forced labor, issuing seven Withhold Release Orders and two forced labor Findings. CBP’s award-winning forced labor team fought to make global supply chains more humane and more secure”.

Senate Confirms Tucson Police Chief Magnus to Lead CBP

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus is confirmed to lead CBP.

By Steve Neavling

The Senate on Tuesday approved President Biden’s nomination of Chris Magnus to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

The Senate voted 50-47 to confirm the nomination, making Magnus the first openly gay CBP commissioner and the first confirmed leader of the agency since 2019. 

Magnus, 61, has served as Tucson’s police chief since 2016 and has been a vocal critic of some of Trump’s immigration policies. He’s also supported the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“It’s clear to me that Chief Magnus is going to handle this job with hard work and a sense of decency. He shares the view that enforcing our immigration laws and treating people humanely are not mutually exclusive,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore, said after Magnus’ confirmation hearing, The Arizona Republic reports.

Magnus has a tough job ahead of him as the nation grapples with a border problem and the separation of migrant children from their families. 

During the confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee last month, Magnus sought to assuage some Republicans by signaling support for two of former President Trump’s most controversial policies. He said he would consider finishing some of the border wall that the Biden administration has stopped and indicated he supported the Trump-era public health order that authorizes the rapid removal of migrants and asylum-seekers without an immigration hearing. 

Biden’s ATF nominee David Chipman floundered in the Senate after every Republican and Angus King, an independent from Maine, refused to support him.