CBP, ICE strengthen trade fraud coordination in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico –U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations Marcelino Borges and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Ricardo Mayoral signed an agreement Jan. 20, to form the San Juan Trade Enforcement Coordination Center (TECC).
The San Juan TECC is the first federal partnership of its kind in Puerto Rico and tenth in the nation to combat fraudulent foreign trade. The center will identify, inspect and investigate foreign trade suspected of being fraudulently introduced into Puerto Rico. It will initially focus on identifying violations in the areas of misclassification, under evaluation, free trade zone fraud, free trade agreement fraud, transshipment, trade-base money laundering and broker compliance. The center will pursue both criminal and civil violations.
“This agreement ups the ante for HSI and CBP working together in Puerto Rico and better positions us to fight against fraudulent trade practices and get back stolen duties owed to the government,” said Marcelino Borges, CBP director of San Juan field operations.
“This agreement further strengthens the already in-place excellent working relationship between HSI and CBP in Puerto Rico,” said Ricardo Mayoral, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “Trade fraud can have significant implications for the U.S. economy and consumers and frequently violate U.S. health and safety standards, potentially endangering the public. HSI is committed to fighting these fraudulent actors alongside our government partners."
The TECCC agreement provides for increased communication and information sharing about foreign imports and commercial fraud investigations. It will help to establish better processes for combating trade fraud and create a united form for pursuing prosecutions.
To report trade fraud, visit e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System.