Borders Separate States, Not Partnerships
Boston - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the northeast, Boston Field Office, Houlton and Swanton Border Patrol Sectors, and Houlton and Plattsburgh Air Branches, look back on fiscal year 2011 to reflect on the accomplishments and valued partnerships with other law enforcement agencies in the border regions they share.
In this dynamic, ever-changing world, CBP uses a layered approach of personnel, technology and intelligence coupled with partnerships with other agencies to protect the United States from all threats. CBP continually works with local, state, federal, international and tribal partners, combining personnel and assets to stay ahead of criminal elements. Leveraging partnerships is a valuable force-multiplier in accomplishing the collective mission of reducing crime and improving the quality of life in our communities.
Even though each component within CBP has its own area of responsibility and traditional missions, the national strategy is the same - preventing terrorists and terrorists' weapons from entering the country, while facilitating legitimate trade and travel. CBP agents and officers in the northeast, though geographically separated, are unified in this mission, working diligently with each other and their partners in securing our nation.
Office of Air and Marine Highlights from Fiscal Year 2011 Include:
- Houlton Air Branch, (Maine)
- During FY11, the Houlton Air Branch participated in joint operations with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies resulting in total seizures of $55,513 in currency; 571 pounds of marijuana; one vehicle and 16 arrests.
- Plattsburgh Air Branch, (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Eastern New York, Rhode Island and Vermont)
- During FY2011, the Plattsburgh Air Branch assisted ICE, DEA, the Adirondack Drug Task Force, State and Local agencies, resulting in total seizures of $787,473.00 in U.S. currency; 2,587 pounds of marijuana; 262 pounds of cocaine; 5.4 pounds of other drugs; 31 weapons; 1 aircraft; 7 vehicles and 85 arrests. Furthermore, in July, the Plattsburgh Air Branch provided support to the Laconia, NH, Police Department, in the form of covert air cover, to monitor the Hell's Angels World Run three-day-event, held in Laconia, NH.
U.S. Border Patrol Highlights from Fiscal Year 2011 Include:
- Houlton Sector, (Maine)
- Cash seizure - On March 26, Border Patrol agents assigned to the Houlton Station observed a vehicle with a flat tire. When agents approached the vehicle to inform the occupants of the tire, inconsistencies in questioning and a K9 alert uncovered large sums of cash hidden in the spare tire and a small amount of currency in two duffel bags. Both subjects were arrested and agents seized $89,808 in U.S. currency, $10,440 in Western Union traveler's checks, and $200 in Canadian currency.
- Marijuana seizures - From June to Sept., agents from Houlton and Rangeley Station's seized 211 pounds of marijuana worth $606,981 in four separate incidents during routine operations. Agents are assisting local, state and federal law enforcement agencies on further investigations into each of these incidents.
- Citizens Academies - Agents hosted their second Citizens Academies in Calais, Fort Fairfield, Houlton, Jackman, Rangeley and Van Buren. The academies allowed local citizens a look into the mission and operations in Maine. Representatives from Boston Field Office, Houlton Air Branch, CBSA, RCMP and other local, state, federal and international agencies participated, showing the importance of partnerships and shared intelligence in border security.
- Swanton Sector, (Coos, Grafton and Carroll Counties in New Hampshire, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Hamilton and Herkimer Counties in New York, and Vermont)
- One vehicle stop leads to several sex trafficking cases and alien smuggling organizations in many states - On March 16, one vehicle stop performed by Richford Border Patrol agents led to several Sex Trafficking cases and Alien Smuggling Organizations in the states of Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, D.C., North Carolina, South Carolina and Arizona. Agents located a ledger containing names of prostitutes, fees charged and addresses in Vermont and New York. On March 17, the U.S. Attorney's Office was contacted, and authorized prosecution for 8 USC 1324 Harboring and Transporting of Illegal aliens, and is planning prosecution for Human Trafficking. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Marshall Service are involved in this case. The U.S. Attorney's Office is still exploring Human Trafficking charges against the individuals in the case.
- Man wanted for murder found with $1 Million worth of ecstasy - On April 16, Massena Border Patrol agents encountered three individuals after several hours of surveillance. A Border Patrol K-9 unit, led agents to discover 20 pounds (36,000 pills) worth $1 million of ecstasy in their rental vehicle. It was later determined that one of the subjects had entered the United States illegally and had been living in various locations within the United States for several months. The same subject was also determined to be wanted in Canada for an Attempted Murder charge. One of the other subjects involved had a Canadian warrant for her arrest.
- Man pleads guilty to $1.76 billion worth of smuggled marijuana - On Nov. 3, one apprehension at the North Hudson Checkpoint in New York developed into Jonathon Braun (Staten Island "Cannabis King") pleading guilty to conspiracy to import 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of marijuana or more and conspiracy to launder drug proceeds. In just two years (2008-2010), Braun imported more than 100,000 kilograms of marijuana worth approximately $1.76 billion dollars worth of marijuana. Braun had ties to the three most powerful organized crime groups in Canada, including the Hell's Angels. The contraband was concealed in vehicles entering New York from Canada through the Akwesasne Native American reservation, as well as in boats and private jets. Braun faces a minimum of ten years and a maximum of life in prison when sentenced.
Office of Field Operations Highlights from Fiscal Year 2011 Include:
- Boston Field Office, (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
- Destructive pests intercepted - On May 15, a bag of prohibited wheat seeds for consumption was seized from a passenger traveling from India that contained two dead Khapra Beetles, which is the first interception of this pest in the Port of Boston since 1989. The insect is regarded as one of the world's most destructive pests of grains, cereals and stored foods, and remains the only insect in which CBP takes regulatory action against even while in a dead state. On Oct. 4, a Boston Agricultural Specialist intercepted a live Cerambycidae sp larva in pallets from a shipment of Chinese car brake rotors. Due to the wood packing material pest alert sent to CBP offices across the nation, on Oct. 26, the Port of Chicago inspected a similar shipment from the same manufacturer where a Cerambycidae sp live larva was also intercepted. CBP agriculture specialists safeguard American agriculture by detecting and preventing entry into the country of plant pests and exotic foreign animal diseases that could cause economic or environmental harm to U.S. agricultural resources.
- $87K in counterfeit music CDs seized - On May 23, CBP officers working the Container Examination Station (CES) Boston Freight Terminals, seized a shipment of counterfeit music CDs for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations. The value of the pirated CDs bearing images of the Marvel Entertainment logo is estimated to be $87,664. Preventing the entry of counterfeit items is crucial to protecting consumers as well as the economy of the United States. Stopping IPR violations at the border protects the trademark holder from losses which are ultimately borne by the consumer in the form of higher retail prices.
Fugitive alters fingertips to avoid arrest - On June 30, Freddie Davila was arraigned on charges of 8 USC Re-entry After Deportation. Davila was arrested earlier in the month by Boston Field Office CBP officers from the Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET), outbound division, when it was discovered Davila altered his fingerprints to avoid arrest. Davila had a prior order of deportation from 2003, but decided to unlawfully remain in the United States.
- Maine ports donate five tons of food - On Sept. 12, CBP employees from the Houlton, Fort Fairfield, Van Buren, Madawaska and Fort Kent ports of entry, along with Border Patrol employees from Houlton Sector, Houlton and Van Buren Stations donated 10,075 pounds of food to the Catholic Charities Maine as part of the nationwide 2011 Feds Feed Families Food Drive. The food donations will help bridge the gap during summer months when donations are typically much less than over the holiday season.
CBP agents and officers are committed to serving the communities in which they live and work. They are highly skilled and mobile, enabling them to respond to diverse requests and missions from various law enforcement agencies and, work tirelessly, with heart and perseverance to ensure the safety of their colleagues, friends and neighbors.
It is with this dedication and the above accomplishments that CBP in the northeast is proud to say thank you, not only to our agents and officers, but also to our law enforcement partners and the citizens in our shared border regions. CBP would not be able to accomplish our important border security mission and secure our future without your commitment and service to our country.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.