Texas Customs and Border Patrol Officers Seize Nearly $1.9 Million in Narcotics in Three Seizures

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – In three separate enforcement actions this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Brownsville Port of Entry intercepted alleged narcotics that have a combined estimated street value of $1,892,620.

The first drug seizure took place on Sunday, Jan. 10, at the Veterans International Bridge at Brownsville when a 59-year-old male Mexican citizen from Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, applied for entry into the United States He was driving a 2007 Mercedes Benz autobus, which was referred to a CBP secondary examination station where, with the aid of a canine unit and a non-intrusive imaging system, CBP officers discovered 58 packages hidden within the autobus. 

Packages containing 67 pounds of cocaine seized by CBP officers at Brownsville, Texas, Port of Entry.

Packages containing 67 pounds of cocaine seized by CBP officers at Brownsville, Texas, Port of Entry.

Officers removed the packages, which contained a total of 67.18 pounds of alleged cocaine.

The second seizure took place on Thursday, Jan. 14, at the Gateway International Bridge when a 26-year-old female United States citizen from Edinburg, Texas, driving a 2000 Honda Accord applied for entry into the United States.  The vehicle was referred to secondary examination after a canine sniffing the vehicle alerted officers to something suspicious. With the aid of a non-intrusive imaging system, CBP officers discovered 20 packages hidden within the Honda Accord, which contained a total of 23.32 pounds of alleged methamphetamine.

The third seizure took place on Friday, Jan. 15, at the Gateway International Bridge when a 18-year-old male United States citizen from Brownsville, Texas, applied for entry into the United States as the driver of a 2008 Dodge Avenger.  The vehicle was referred to CBP secondary for further examination after a primary inspection.  In secondary, with the aid of a canine unit and a non-intrusive imaging system, CBP officers discovered 11 packages hidden within the Dodge Avenger which contained a total of 27.69 pounds of alleged cocaine and one package which contained a total of 3.52 pounds of alleged meth.

The estimated street value of the narcotics from the seizures is approximately $1,142,060, $466,493 and $284,067, respectively, for a total of nearly $1.9 million.

CBP officers seized the narcotics along with the vehicles, arrested the drivers and turned them over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.

“Our CBP officers’ hard work and dedication has led to these significant narcotics seizures and our streets are safer for it,” said Port Director Tater Ortiz, Brownsville Port of Entry.

Yuma Agents Apprehend Sex Offender

YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a registered sex offender Jan. 13 after he entered the U.S. illegally.

The man was one of three Mexican nationals apprehended by Yuma Station agents at approximately 2:30 p.m. after they illegally crossed the border through the desert southeast of Yuma.  

Border Patrol truck in Yuma, AZ Record checks conducted on the three Mexican nationals revealed one of them had been arrested and prosecuted in California for having sex with a minor. He was previously removed from the U.S. following the completion of his sentence for that crime.

The man will face prosecution charges for entering the U.S. after having previously been removed, and will eventually be returned to Mexico.

Border Patrol Agents in San Diego Area Arrest Sex Offender

OTAY MESA, Calif. — San Diego Sector (SDC) Border Patrol agents on Jan. 12 arrested a sex offender who had been previously removed from the country.

At approximately 8:15 a.m., agents patrolling the border near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry encountered a man illegally present in the U.S.  Agents arrested the man for entry without inspection.  Record checks revealed that the 38-year-old Mexican national had been convicted for rape of a child in 2003 and was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, followed by 38 months of supervised release.

Otay Mesa, Calif., border crossing near San Diego

In July 2005, the man was subsequently arrested by Border Patrol agents in New Mexico and prosecuted for criminal re-entry after removal.  After serving more than three years in prison for this offense, he was removed to Mexico in November 2008.  The man presently is being held in Federal custody pending criminal prosecution for felony illegal re-entry after removal.

“The vigilance of the men and women of the U.S Border Patrol prevented this dangerous individual from re-entering our communities and I am proud of their hard work.” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke.

Since the beginning of fiscal year 2021, SDC’s Border Patrol agents have arrested 15 sex offenders.  During fiscal year 2020, 25 sex offenders were arrested in the San Diego Sector.

Customs and Border Patrol Issues Region-Wide Order To Detain Products Made by Slave Labor in Xinjiang

WASHINGTON — Effective Jan. 13 at all U.S. ports of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will detain cotton products and tomato products produced in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Chinese reportedly hold more than one million Muslims in concentration camps

The Communist Chinese government reportedly holds more than one million Uyghur Muslims in concentration or “reeducation” camps.

CBP issued a Withhold Release Order against cotton products and tomato products produced in Xinjiang based on information that reasonably indicates the use of detainee or prison labor and situations of forced labor. The agency identified the following forced labor indicators through the course of its investigation: debt bondage, restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and abusive living and working conditions.

“DHS will not tolerate forced labor of any kind in U.S. supply chains. We will continue to protect the American people and investigate credible allegations of forced labor; we will prevent goods made by forced labor from entering our country; and we demand the Chinese close their camps and stop their human rights violations,” said Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.

“CBP will not tolerate the Chinese government’s exploitation of modern slavery to import goods into the United States below fair market value,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan. “Imports made on the cheap by using forced labor hurt American businesses that respect human rights and also expose unsuspecting consumers to unethical purchases.”

The Withhold Release Order, or WRO, directs CBP personnel at all U.S. ports of entry to detain cotton products and tomato products grown or produced by entities operating in Xinjiang. These products include apparel, textiles, tomato seeds, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and other goods made with cotton and tomatoes. Importers are responsible for ensuring the products they are attempting to import do not exploit forced labor at any point in their supply chain, including the production or harvesting of the raw material.  

In July 2020, the U.S. Government issued an advisory to caution businesses about the reputational, financial, and legal risks of forced labor in Xinjiang, where the Chinese government continues to execute a campaign of repression targeting the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minority groups. On December 2, 2020, CBP announced the issuance of a WRO on cotton and cotton products originating from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, an economic and paramilitary organization subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party.

This is the fourth WRO that CBP has issued since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2021, and the second on products originating in Xinjiang. Eight of the 13 WRO that CBP issued in Fiscal Year 2020 were on goods made by forced labor in China. All WROs are publicly available and listed by country on CBP’s Forced Labor WROs and Findings webpage.

Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise produced, wholly or in part, by convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor, including forced or indentured child labor. CBP detains shipments of goods suspected of being imported in violation of this statute. Importers of detained shipments have the opportunity to export their shipments or demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.

CBP enforces the prohibition on importing goods made by forced labor. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being, or likely to be, imported into the United States can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.

Source: Customs and Border Protection, Jan. 13, 2020.