Yuma Sector Sees Increased Apprehensions of Unaccompanied Juveniles Under 13

YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents are seeing an increase in juveniles under the age of 13 crossing the border by themselves in recent months, Customs and Border Patrol announced Feb. 17.

Since Jan. 1, agents have apprehended 28 unaccompanied “tender age children,” meaning children under the age of 13 that are not with a parent or guardian. That’s compared to 13 unaccompanied tender age children during the same time period in 2019. Tender age is a term used by the U.S. Border Patrol to describe children under the age of 13. The intent of defining tender age is to eliminate confusion and align USBP terminology with the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The 28 unaccompanied children who have been apprehended since the start of the year came from Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.

“The smuggling of children is extremely dangerous, and that danger exasperates when the child is sent on the journey alone,” said Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Agent Chris T. Clem. “It further shows the continued disregard for human life by smuggling organizations by circumventing our laws and profiting on the vulnerabilities of these populations.”

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.

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.

Customs and Border Protection Arrests Man Wanted for Child Sexual Assault

DALLAS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officers at the Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport arrested a traveler wanted for sexual assault of a child, Nov. 22.

CBP officers intercepted Jose Alfaro, a 66-year-old U.S. citizen, as he disembarked a flight from El Salvador over the weekend.  A warrant out of Galveston,Texas was issued for Alfaro for aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first-degree felony.

2020-11-24 IAH - Back of CBPO working egress - EC6A1623 CBP officers arrested Alfaro and turned him over to the Texas Department of Public Safety at DFW Airport.  Charges and allegations contained in criminal complaints are merely accusations.  Suspects are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

“CBP officers are vigilant and trained to detect, identify and apprehend wanted suspects,” said Timothy Lemaux, Dallas Area Port Director. “As a law enforcement agency, our officers are committed to carrying out our mission of protecting our Nation.”

Tucson Border Patrol Agents Arrest Felon With Homicide Conviction, 28 Others

TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Border Patrol agents in Arizona apprehended a group of 29 illegal aliens, including a convicted murderer, near the international border with Mexico the evening of Nov. 17.

Tucson Sector agents observed the group about eight miles north of the border in the Mesquite Mountains, located on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation. Agents caught up with the group and wound up arresting one Honduran, three Guatemalan, and 25 Mexican nationals, all illegally present in the United States. The group, all males, ranged in age from 15 to 41.

Records checks revealed one of the Mexican men, 31-year-old Carlos Lopez-Vazquez, was a previously removed felon, convicted of reckless homicide in Marion County, Indiana, in 2010 and sentenced to four years of confinement for his crime.

Carlos Lopez-Vaquez, convicted of homicide
Carlos Lopez-Vaquez, convicted of homicide, arrested after crossing the border

Lopez now faces federal immigration charges. The rest of the group was expelled from the country under Title 42 authority.

All people apprehended by the Border Patrol undergo criminal history checks using biometrics to ensure illegal aliens with criminal histories are positively identified. 

Joint Collaboration Leads to the Discovery of Four ‘Stash Houses’ in the Rio Grande Valley, 92 Arrests

The Border Patrol continues to find illegal aliens in “stash houses.” Above are some of those found in Laredo, Texas home in June 2020. (CBP Photo)

EDINBURG, Texas – Since Nov. 16, U.S. Border Patrol agents working in collaboration with state and local authorities disrupted four “stash houses,” which led to the discovery and arrest of 92 illegal aliens.

The Roma Police Department requested assistance from the Rio Grande City Border Patrol station in identifying multiple subjects at a residence in Roma, Texas on Nov. 17. Upon arrival, a police officer told Border Patrol agents the police had received a call from a concerned citizen regarding suspected illegal activities at the residence. Agents found 12 subjects at the residence, interviewed them, and determined that all were illegally present in the United States. The illegal aliens were from El Salvador, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.

Later, Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector agents working with Texas Department of Public Safety troopers responded to a mobile home in Edinburg, Texas, after receiving information the home was being used to house illegal aliens.  After receiving consent to enter the home, law enforcement authorities discovered 29 illegal aliens from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.

A few hours later, RGV Sector agents working in collaboration with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office received information of a house in Palmview, Texas, operating as a human smuggling stash house. Upon arrival and entry, agents and deputies encountered seven illegal aliens inside. Agents identified them to be from Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.

Previousl, on Nov. 16, agents and local authorities arrested 44 illegal aliens after discovering them at a residence in Rio Grande City.

A Border Patrol spokesman said it processed the subjects and cases accordingly.

Border Patrol arrests sex offenders, criminal aliens in the Rio Grande Valley

EDINBURG, Texas – Over the weekend, Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol agents arrested three sex offenders and two members of violent criminal organizations.

Rio Grande City agents working near Roma, Texas, on Nov. 13 arrested a Guatemalan national, later identified as Amos Nemias Lopez-Ramirez, shortly after he illegally entered the United States. During processing, record checks revealed he is a confirmed Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang member. Records revealed he had previously been arrested in Virginia by the Harrisonburg Police Department for assault and sentenced to five years incarceration.

That same day, McAllen agents working in Los Ebanos, Texas, arrested a Guatemalan national whose record checks identified him as Jose Cottoc-Machic. Furthermore, agents discovered the man was previously arrested in Alabama by the Russellville Police Department and charged with sexual assault-rape 2nd degree. A judge sentenced Cottoc-Machic to eight years imprisonment but suspended his sentence to three months and five years probation.

The following morning, Falfurrias, Texas, agents arrested Jose Vasquez-Chavez, a Salvadoran national attempting to circumvent the immigration checkpoint. During processing, record checks revealed he had previously been arrested by the Katy Police Department for sexual assault of a child, convicted, and sentenced to two years confinement.

Later that evening, McAllen agents arrested a Mexican national, later identified as Fernando Jimenez-Rodriguez, after he illegally entered the United States.

Jose Tomas Vasquez-Chavez, convicted sex offender.

During processing, his record checks revealed a previous arrest by the Dallas Police Department for indecency with a child. Jimenez-Rodriguez received a two year prison sentence.

On Nov. 16, Rio Grande city agents on patrol near the Rio Grande in Roma, Texas, arrested a Mexican national after he was rafted across the river by a human smuggler. During processing, the man identified himself as a member of a criminal organization, Los Metros, which has been identified as a faction of the Gulf Cartel.

Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Seizes Nearly a Million Dollars Worth of Drugs

EDINBURG, Texas – This weekend, Rio Grande Valley agents seized more than 400 pounds of marijuana, 15 pounds of methamphetamine, and over two pounds of heroin combined during three failed smuggling attempts.

Rio Grande Valley Sector agents working in La Rosita, Texas, observed several people carrying bundles of drugs on their backs as they walked away from the Rio Grande on Friday night, Oct. 9. The subjects continued walking north for awhile, then dropped their bundles and ran away, after apparently spotting approaching CPB agents.

Right: Bundles of pot seized by Border Patrol agents near San Diego last December. (Photo: Times of San Diego)

Agents secured the dropped bundles, which turned out to be marijuana weighing more than 253 pounds and worth more than $202,000. They attempted to locate the smugglers, but were unsuccessful.

12-26-19-Border-Patrol-Agents-Track-Drug-Mules-in-SD (Times of San Diego)

The following day, Oct. 10, Rio Grande City agents responded to a reported drug smuggling attempt involving several smugglers near La Grulla, Texas. Agents searching the suspected location found four abandoned bundles of marijuana weighing more than 184 pounds, worth more than $147,000. Agents were unable to locate the smugglers.

In addition, Rio Grande Valley border agents seized 15 pounds of methamphetamine and more than two pounds of heroin during a failed smuggling attempt. The drugs have a combined value of more than $565,000.

Yuma-area Border Patrol Agents arrest convicted child molester, two companions

YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma Station Border Patrol agents apprehended a male previously convicted of child molestation as he attempted to make illegal entry into the United States on Sept. 29.

Symbol of the Border Patrol, Yuma SectionAt approximately 3:40 p.m., agents working in the Imperial Sand Dunes area apprehended a group of three Mexican nationals. During processing, agents identified one subject who had various criminal and administrative convictions, including felony child molestation. He was removed from the United States in 2013 from Texas.

The man, whose name was not released, will be prosecuted for re-entry as a previously deported aggravated felon, the Border Patrol said. The other two Mexican nationals were arrested and returned to Mexico.

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

ICE, Border Patrol raid of Chaparral stash house results in 57 arrests

CHAPARRAL, N.M. – Continuing a recent trend, U.S. Border Patrol and ICE agents discovered a crowded stash house containing 48 illegal aliens last week.

El Paso Border Patrol Agents investigating a potential smuggling scheme encountered seven illegal aliens near the El Paso International Airport. The illegal aliens provided information that led to the discovery of four dozen other illegal aliens inside the stash house in Chaparral, New Mexico.

CPB, 2 agents at the border fence

Standing in front of a stretch of border wall.

Following the discovery, a lawfully admitted permanent resident and his wife were arrested on smuggling charges. The aliens from Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico also were arrested, making a total of 57 people taken into custody.

The Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deportation Officers (ICE-DO) took part in the arrests.

The stash house discovery comes on the heels of a recent take-down last month where 32 persons were found inside of an El Paso, Texas, stash house in the Lower Valley.

 “Border Patrol Agents, joined by HSI and ICE-DO identified a stash house with 48 illegal aliens inside a Chaparral, New Mexico residence,” stated El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “This incident demonstrates the continued exploitation by transnational criminal organizations who repeatedly use humans for profit regardless of the inherent risks including the potential for the spread of COVID-19 during the ongoing pandemic.”