Laredo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Deputy Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski and CBP South Texas Commander Robert L. Harris together with Laredo Sector Border Patrol and other federal, state and local officials broke ground today on the South Texas Border Intelligence Center, a facility designed to intensify and integrate intelligence gathering and sharing activity among law enforcement agencies across South Texas.
"Information sharing among law enforcement at the federal, state and local level is essential to effective border security," said Acting Deputy Commissioner Winkowski. "This new multi-agency facility will integrate intelligence operations among South Texas law enforcement agencies and help drive enforcement operations at all levels to meet and engage emerging threats from transnational criminal organizations and to combat terrorism."
Housed on the Laredo Sector Border Patrol compound, the two-story modular building will provide 7,000 square feet of work space for up to 20 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to integrate and co-locate intelligence gathering and sharing activities and will operate on a seven-day by 24-hour basis. Among the participating agencies and components: CBP's Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, FBI, DEA, Texas Department of Public Safety, Webb County Sheriff's Office and Laredo Police Department.
The $3.5 million structure is projected for completion by January 2013. The facility will be CBP-owned but managed by the law enforcement community.
Gathering with Deputy Commissioner Winkowski and Commander Harris to break ground on the center were a variety of federal, state and local officials, including CBP's John R. Stanton, Executive Director, Joint Operations Directorate, Jeffrey Baldwin, Acting Executive Director, Operations, Office of Field Operations, John C. Esquivel, Acting Chief Patrol Agent, Laredo Sector, Eugenio Garza Jr., Director Field Operations, Laredo Field Office, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, Cindy Liendo Espinoza, Mayor Pro Tempore, City of Laredo and Carlos Villarreal, City Manager, City of Laredo among others.
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.