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Organization and Operations

Headquarters Laboratories and Scientific Services

Headquarters staff provides operational and administrative management and oversight of the laboratory system.

Customs Mobile Lab
Location and Contact Information
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Laboratories and Scientific Services
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 1500 North
Washington, D.C. 20229
Voice:  (202) 344-1060
Fax:      (202) 344-2060
 

Science Officers plan, coordinate, and execute support operations in three major areas: trade enforcement, Weapons of Mass Destruction recognition and interdiction, crime scene investigations, and forensics. Science Officers also issue technical opinions, provide advice on World Customs Organization issues, and manage CBP Gauger/Laboratory Accreditation program.

General engineers and project managers acquire and deploy the latest non-intrusive inspection systems available. They also maintain performance schedules and expenditure rates, perform contract acceptance functions, provide site surveys, site preparation, and installations.

Springfield Laboratory

Service Area
The Springfield Laboratory is a centralized facility that provides scientific support to CBP Headquarters and the Field Laboratories.

Location and Contact Information
Director
Springfield Laboratory
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
7501 Boston Blvd., Suite 113
Springfield, VA 22153
Voice: (703) 921-7200
Fax:     (703) 921-7155
 

Functions
The Springfield Laboratory was originally established in 1970 as a research facility. Today, the laboratory provide analytical services to CBP legal and regulatory functions and to other Headquarters Offices which may need scientific support including Quality Assurance for the CBP Drug Screening Program and technical assistance for the Canine Enforcement Program and for international drug training programs. The Springfield Laboratory is an important resource in addressing tariff classification issues for high technology products, in developing statistical data to confirm the country of origin of imported commodities, and in providing a sound technical foundation for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement involving copyrights, trademarks and patents. The laboratory also develops new analytical methods and evaluates new instrumentation for application by the Field Laboratories.

The activities of the Springfield Laboratory are varied in supporting CBP commercial and enforcement mission. The laboratory conducts programs to ensure analytical uniformity among the Field Laboratories and maintains technical and scientific exchange with other federal enforcement agencies, technological branches of foreign customs agencies and the military.

The laboratory is well equipped to meet its analytical objectives with a staff of scientists and state-of-the art instrumentation including a Fourier-transform infrared spectrophotometer (FTIR), high-resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (HR-ICP-MS), scanning electron microscope (SEM), and capillary electrophoresis equipment.

New York Laboratory

Service Area
The New York CBP Laboratory, is accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA), and services the greater New York City area including the New York Seaport, JFK Airport, the Port of Newark and Perth Amboy.

Location and Contact Information
Director
New York Laboratory
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
1100 Raymond Blvd.
Newark, NJ 07102
Voice: (973) 368-1900
Fax:     (973) 368-1905
 

Functions
The New York CBP Laboratory provides quality scientific, forensic, and WMD services to our customers.

  • In support of our primary mission of homeland security, the NY Laboratory WMD services include radiation detection, chemical WMD detection and identification,participation in LSS national WMD strike team, and membership in the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN).
  • Forensic services include analysis of controlled substances, latent fingerprint lifting, and forensic photography.
  • The scientific services include analysis of a full range of commodities imported into the US including inorganic products, organic chemicals and products, food products, petroleum, textiles, footwear, raw sugar, polymers, plastics, and paper.

Specializations
Additional specialized services of the NY Laboratory include:

Mobile Operations
The laboratory conducts mobile operations throughout its service area. In support of the primary mission of securing our borders, the laboratory screens for radioactive, chemical and biological WMD materials at the ports, airports and terminals.

Chicago Laboratory

Service Area
The Chicago Laboratory services Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York, except the New York Metro area.

Location and Contact Information
Director
Chicago Laboratory
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
610 South Canal St., Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60607
 
Voice: (312) 983-9300
Fax:    (312) 886-2210
 

Functions
The Chicago Laboratory is a full-service laboratory, providing technical advice and analytical services to CBP officers, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, Border Patrol agents, and other government entities on a wide range of issues and imported commodities. These services assist CBP officers in meeting the CBP mission of collecting revenue based on import duties, enforcing CBP laws and regulations, and enforcing other federal government laws and regulations. Services provided to ICE agents and Border Patrol agents pertain primarily to forensic and law enforcement issues.

The staff consists of over 20 employees most of whom are chemists and textile analysts. In addition to providing technical advice and analytical assistance, the laboratory also provides training to CBP officers on interdiction, identification, and determination of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and contraband. The staff of the Chicago Laboratory actively participates in national and international scientific organizations to improve methods of analysis and promote uniformity.

Specializations
The Chicago Laboratory has the only tensile tester in the CBP laboratory system capable of determining certain physical characteristics of industrial fasteners, metals, and articles of metal. The laboratory has had a strong involvement in the geological identification of building stones under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. Because of its northern location, NAFTA issues and Canadian merchandise are prevalent.

In the forensics area, the Chicago Laboratory has the capability to enhance video and audio recordings for its law enforcement customers. This capability includes, but is not limited to, audio/video authenticity/continuity, audio/video recovery, audio/video duplication, audio transcription, and audio synchronization. The laboratory also has the capability of developing standard color and black and white film, generate prints, and making enlargements on a variety of media.

Mobile Operations
The Chicago Laboratory has the capability of being deployed at service area sites with the necessary equipment for WMD and anti-terrorism operations and specialized operations in support of its customer's missions.

Accreditation
The Chicago Laboratory is accredited to international standard ISO/IEC 17025 - General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories - in the chemical and mechanical fields of testing.

Savannah Laboratory

Service Area
The Savannah Customs Laboratory serves ports from Philadelphia, PA to Key West, FL.

Location and Contact Information
Director
Savannah Laboratory
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
1425 Chatham Parkway
Savannah, GA 31405
Voice: (912) 447-6500
Fax:     (912) 447-6506
 

Functions
The Savannah Laboratory was established in 1918 for the purpose of analyzing raw sugar imported by the Savannah Sugar Refining Corporation. Once a one room "sugar operation" located in the historic Savannah Customhouse, today the Savannah Laboratory is a 20,000 square foot facility.

The laboratory is a full-service analytical laboratory with capabilities for chemical and physical testing of all types of commodities, narcotics and other controlled substances.

The Savannah Laboratory has a technical staff of nineteen and an administrative support staff of three.

Specializations
Laboratory specializations include textile and apparel analyses. The laboratory is designated as the CBP testing facility for wool, which includes determining clean content and wool grade.

To address country-of-origin issues, the Savannah Laboratory has developed trace element profiles for many agricultural products including garlic, peanuts, fruit juices and tobacco products. Additionally, the laboratory uses SNIF-NMR technologies and IRMS to supplement trace element profiles for country-of-origin investigations.

Because of its proximity to the CBP training facility at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, GA, the Savannah Laboratory provides specialized technical training to CBP officers and provides support to the agency's International CBP Training program.

Mobile Operations
The Savannah Laboratory operates two mobile laboratories to meet the onsite testing needs of Southeastern U.S. Ports. The units are state-of-the art, custom-built vehicles capable of simultaneously housing image analysis instrumentation, mobile metal analyzer, IPR electronic testing equipment, GC/MS instrumentation, UV and IR spectrophotometers, conventional "wet" chemistry apparatus and instruments used for the detection of materials for Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Houston Laboratory (Southwest Regional Science Center)

Service Area
The Houston Laboratory (Southwest Regional Science Center) provides technical and scientific services to all of the Ports of Entry and Border Patrol Sectors in the following eight states: Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico. This geographic area contains 80 percent of the border between the United States and Mexico.

Location and Contact Information
Director
Houston Laboratory (Southwest Regional Science Center)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
4150 Interwood South Parkway
Houston, TX 77032
Voice: (281) 560-2900
Fax:     (281) 372-0642
 

Functions
The U.S. Customs & Border Protection Houston Laboratory (Southwest Regional Science Center) provides technical and scientific services in support of the U.S. Customs & Border Protection mission to manage, secure, and control the nation's border and to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States.

The services provided by the Houston Laboratory (Southwest Regional Science Center) support forensic crime scene investigation, WMD interdiction, and trade enforcement. Forensic scientists provide support to law enforcement investigations with the analysis of latent prints, controlled substances, pharmaceuticals, digital evidence, accident investigation, and expert witness testimony. All analyses are conducted by American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) certified chemists or International Association for Identification (IAI) certified latent print examiners. Additionally, a broad range of trade enforcement analyses are performed on imported and exported commodities to determine whether the merchandise is properly described by the required documentation or identified as contraband according to its physical and chemical nature. This laboratory is also responsible for providing technical support in areas such as drawback, classification issues, and regulatory audit functions.

Specializations
Because of the Center's location to the Southwest border, there is an increased emphasis on providing technical and scientific support to manage, secure, and control the nation's border. Services in this area include the detection of clandestine tunnels, response to case investigations to ensure that physical evidence is identified and collected properly for further forensic examination, and the deployment of weapons of mass destruction detection technologies to the front-line.

Los Angeles Laboratory

Service Area
The Los Angeles Laboratory services all of Southern California, Southern Nevada, including Las Vegas, Arizona, and the California-Mexico border in these areas.

Location and Contact Information
Director Los Angeles Laboratory
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
300 S. Ferry Street, Suite 1300
San Pedro, CA 90731-7495
Voice: (310) 514-6184
Fax:     (310) 514-6329
 

Functions

Within its service area, the Los Angeles CBP Laboratory provides analytical services and technical assistance to CBP officers, ICE agents, Border Patrol agents, and other law enforcement agencies. The staff of chemists, textile analysts and physical scientists is trained to assist in meeting the CBP mission in areas of trade, forensics and WMD.

Some laboratory functions, including Specialization, are:

Technical and analytical assistance on imports for classification and identification for compliance with CBP laws and/or other agency requirements enforced by CBP.

Mobile Operations
The laboratory has mobile vans to travel to its service areas to provide forensic and trade support. Numerous latent print processing and trace evidence collection operations have been conducted. The laboratory is equipped with field instrumentation to analyze and identify some unknown chemicals, textile construction and applications on textiles, controlled substances, explosives, and WMD chemical agents and radiation. The Los Angeles Laboratory has vehicle-mounted detectors for rapid scan and identification of radiation sources from cargo containers and hand-held NaI (sodium iodide) and HPGe (high purity Germanium) detectors to support the LA/LB Seaport and CBP POEs.

San Francisco Laboratory

Service Area
The laboratory serves the northern two-thirds of California, as well as the states of Oregon, Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Montana, and Idaho. Major ports located in this service area include San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Blaine, Anchorage, Honolulu, and Denver.

Location and Contact Information
Director
San Francisco Laboratory
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
630 Sansome Street, Room 1450
San Francisco, CA 94111
Voice: (415) 844-5744
Fax:     (415) 844-5757
 

Functions
The San Francisco Laboratory is a full-service, ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory that provides technical advice, forensic, and other scientific services to the CBP officials and other agencies on a wide range of imported and exported commodities. Imported and exported products related to trade and forensic include wearing apparels, footwear, papers, building stones, ceramics, metal products, foods, raw sugar, chemicals, petroleum products, woods, paraffin wax candles (antidumping), and Korean dies for memory modules (antidumping), control substances and pharmaceuticals, film development, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), ITC Exclusion Orders on One-Time use cameras (LFFP) and certain sildenafil. Expedited services are provided on samples involving intellectual property rights (IPR), textiles that require quota and visa and forensics, fingerprint lifting, and controlled substances. If samples cannot be brought to the laboratory, mobile laboratory equipments are readily available to conduct on-site examinations and supports.

The laboratory also provides tremendous supports in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), explosives, hazardous materials, and crime scene investigation. Several staff members are qualified RIID trainers training, and continuously provide RIID Operation trainings, and provide CBP Radiation Detection Program and Response Protocol at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Radiation Academy (RADACAD) in Richland, Washington.

Available to the technical staff are scientific/laboratory instruments such as Inductively Couple Plasma (ICP)/Spark Ablation-Inductively Couple Plasma, Inductively Couple Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS), optical spectrophotometers, scanning electron microscope (SEM), gas chromatograph-mass (GC-MS) spectrometers, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), portable FTIR, Isotopic Ratio Mass Spectrometer (IR-MS), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), X-ray Diffractometers (XRD), X-ray Fluorescence (XRF), photo development/processing, and audio/visual enhancement.

Specializations
Because of the laboratory's location on the Pacific Rim, there is an emphasis and greater expertise in that commerce which includes: IPR, includes digital millennium copyright act (DMCA), antidumping duties on DRAMs (Korea), and patent through ITC Exclusion orders on One-Time Use Cameras (LFFP); textiles, including intermediates of the manufacturing process as well as finished wearing apparel; oriental food and beverages.

Due to the very significant value of petroleum importations, the laboratory specializes in petroleum analysis. A special emphasis of this work targets the country of origin of crude oil and some of its finished products such as aviation fuel. The National Petroleum chemist is by defacto, the keeper of all commercial gauger audit reports in his or her designated service area.

Mobile Operations
The San Francisco Laboratory operates a small mobile laboratory unit, which is utilized throughout its service area in the Northwestern United States to provide on-site examination and analyses of commercial shipments and training for local CBP officers. Mobile equipment coupled with expertise and needs cause the focus to be on textiles and IPR issues during these operations, with training being provided across the entire spectrum of works, include Drug Test Kit, Weights and Scale training.

The laboratory also provides supports on-site Crime Scene Investigation (Fingerprint collection), and examination and analysis on any suspicious illicit radioactive materials entering this country. Available WMD equipments include RIID (GR-135), Detective-Ex, GR-460 Mobile Spectrometer, Vapor Tracer 2, Itemiser 3, Hazmat/Sensor IR, First Defender, NucSafe Backpack, JCAD, Bio-Seeq, Bio Threat Alert, Fingerprint Collection Kit, and portable XRF (MiniPal).

San Juan Laboratory

Service Area
The San Juan Laboratory serves the ports of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Isands.

Location and Contact Information
Director San Juan Laboratory
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Room 125, #1 La Puntilla
San Juan, PR 00901
Voice: (787) 729-6991/6968
Fax:     (787) 729-6650
 

Functions
The San Juan Laboratory is a full-service analytical laboratory equipped with the latest state-of-the-art scientific equipment and with capabilities for chemical and physical testing of all wide variety of importations, and forensic related samples. Technical and scientific support is also provided to CBP Officers to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States territories.

The services provided by the San Juan Laboratory include forensic support, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) interdiction, and trade enforcement. Forensic support to CBP Officers, and Border Patrol and ICE Agents includes latent print lifting, crime scene investigation and evidence collection, analysis of unknowns and suspected controlled substances, photography, audio and video duplication, data extraction from media and cellular phones, and expert witness testimony, among others. WMD support includes programmed visits to seaports, airports, and Radiation Monitoring Portals (RPM) during their daily radiation to provide scientific and technical advice. Trade enforcement support includes testing commodities for HTSUS classification, country of origin and marking violations, hazards, quotas, visas and other requirements established by the trade community.

In addition, the San Juan Laboratory provides vital training in areas related to national security and law enforcement such as WMD, Radiation Isotope Identification Detector (RIID) certification, Crime Scene Management, and Narcotics Field Test Identification.

Specializations
Each San Juan laboratory analyst is capable of working a wide range of commodities. Great expertise has been developed through the years in the identification of unknowns, controlled substances, and trace evidence.

Mobile Operations
The San Juan Laboratory mobile operations encompass an active participation in CBP's WMD related activities, forensic and trace evidence collection, and crime scene management through all ports of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Accreditation and Certifications
The San Juan Laboratory is accredited to the international standard ISO/IEC 17025, "General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories". All forensic scientists are licensed by the Puerto Rico Chemistry Board, and/or the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC).

Teleforensic Center

The Teleforensic Center provides scientific reachback support to field personnel on matters related to safeguarding of the nation's borders.

Contact Information
Email: labhq@dhs.gov

Functions
The function of the Teleforensic Center (TC) operation is to provide field personnel with reachback access to scientific and technological resources. These resources help facilitate resolutions for field personnel in the performance of their duties. One of the field personnel's primary duties is detection, isolation and control of potential threats that may result from the presence of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials. TC scientists provide technical support to resolve threat issues related to the execution of this duty. The TC is staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days per-week.

TC scientists' expertise originates from a broad-spectrum of scientific disciplines including chemical, biological, explosives, radiological, and nuclear. TC scientists act in the capacity of technical experts, advisers, and researchers.

Specializations
Coordinate technical activities with other government agencies including National Laboratories and furnish scientific and technical advisory services.

Initiate, organize, organize and manage a comprehensive program to find solutions to novel and complex issues that result from the interdiction and/or confiscation of seized radioactive material.

Develop conjunctive partnerships and outreach efforts with National Laboratories, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), and other agencies in preparation of special operations, including international venues, for the interdiction of radioactive material.

Provide scientific and technical advisory services to CBP executives and port officials regarding plans and recommendations for new equipment and interdiction methods for CBP and other agencies using the TC for reachback support.

Interdiction Technology Branch

Service Area
The Interdiction Technology Branch is a centralized facility that provides system acquisition and technical support to CBP Headquarters and field personnel.

Location and Contact Information
Director
Interdiction Technology Branch
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Laboratories and Scientific Services
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Suite 1575 North
Washington, D.C. 20229

Voice: (202) 344-1825
Fax:     (202) 344-1418
cbp.labhq@dhs.gov

 

Functions
The LSS Interdiction Technology Branch (ITB) consists of general engineers, physical scientists, and project managers to provide CBP with an internal technical capability to ensure that field personnel have the best and most advanced high-technology enforcement equipment available. As the Department of Homeland Security and other organizations are conducting multiple research and development projects for next generation equipment, ITB assists CBP in assessing the "readiness" of equipment proposed for field validation and/or deployment. ITB also acquires and deploys current "off the shelf" equipment for both domestic and international operations. To that end ITB is the technical administrator of all NII procurements and system acquisitions fielded by CBP. To retain "lessons learned" and provide future strategic information for CBP managers, ITB is developing the capability to conduct advanced analysis, "what if" studies, and modeling and simulations to help proactively guide the acquisition, fielding and life cycle support for the high-technology enforcement equipment program. ITB advises CBP executive management on high-technology enforcement and inspection technology and technically represents CBP on these issues with other domestic and foreign agencies, Congress, the media, industry, and academia.

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