The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provides anti-drug smuggling training to air, sea and land commercial transport companies (carriers). This training is part of the CBP Carrier Initiative and Super Carrier Initiative Programs under which CBP and the carrier companies cooperate to prevent commercial conveyances from being utilized to smuggle narcotics.
Carrier Initiative training is directed at employees of air, sea and land commercial carriers. Those carriers with route systems that are high risk for drug smuggling voluntarily sign agreements with CBP. The carriers agree to exercise the highest degree of care and diligence in securing their facilities and conveyances, while CBP agrees to conduct site surveys and provide appropriate training and recommendations for improving security. The degree of a carrier's compliance with the agreement may become a mitigating factor in the assessment of a penalty if narcotics are found on board a conveyance. The Super Carrier Initiative Program is for those carriers that face an extraordinarily high risk from drug traffickers. CBP and various carriers have signed over 3,800 Carrier Initiative Agreements and 27 Super Carrier Agreements.
The CBP has established criteria for determining carriers to whom Carrier Initiative training will be provided. The conveyances used by the company must be a potential target of drug smugglers and those carriers facing the greatest level of risk will be given priority. Preference is given to those organizations that have signed carrier agreements. Priority is given to the prevention of cocaine smuggling. Sponsors are expected to open the training program to other interested parties and must be willing to provide the venue, training equipment, and interpreters if necessary. While foreign law enforcement officials may attend the training, the program is directed at the private sector.
Training sites are not necessarily located in high risk areas, but may be located in cities where the sponsoring company is located or where employees can be brought together. The first program conducted overseas was in October 1988. Since that time, CBP has trained thousands of employees from hundreds of carriers.
CBP offers two training programs: a two-day anti-drug smuggling seminar for senior level managers and a one-day anti-drug smuggling seminar for mid-level managers, supervisors and front-line personnel.
Topics included in the one-day seminar are:
- search techniques
- risk assessments
- concealment techniques
- document review
- physical and procedural security
- personnel hiring
- drug source countries
- drug characteristics
- internal smuggling conspiracies
In addition to the above topics, the two-day seminar provides an in-depth review of the legal issues concerning carrier liability and deals with penalty and mitigation procedures.
The overall goals of these programs and their training component are to encourage commercial carriers to share with CBP the burden of stopping the flow of illicit drugs; to deter smugglers from using commercial carriers to smuggle drugs; and to provide carriers with the incentive to improve their security and their drug smuggling awareness.