LAREDO, RIO GRANDE CITY and BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Acting Commissioner David Aguilar recognized Border Patrol agents from Laredo Sector and CBP officers from Brownsville and Rio Grande City for exemplary service at the 2012 Annual Commissioner's Awards Ceremony held today in Washington, DC.
Acting Commissioner Aguilar recognized CBP personnel from across the nation for service to the agency that went above and beyond in a variety of categories, including mission support, enforcement, innovation, community outreach, anti-terrorism, integrity and valor.
In Laredo, two units from the Laredo Sector Border Patrol will be honored with the Commissioner's Award. The Laredo South Station Community Partnership Unit received an award for its outstanding outreach efforts that have succeeded in gaining active support from local community residents in identifying criminal and suspicious activity. In January of 2010, the Laredo South Station Community Partnership Unit (CPU) was created and tasked with working to improve the relationship that the station has with the communities of El Cenizo, Texas and Rio Bravo, Texas. The Hebbronville Border Patrol Station Intelligence Unit in Hebbronville, Texas will be recognized for their dedication and commitment to the law enforcement mission, which resulted in the arrest and conviction of the notorious Gutierrez Brothers. After learning vital information about the Gutierrez Brothers' drug smuggling organization, the Hebbronville unit reached out to other law enforcement agencies and formed a joint taskforce. When the operation concluded, a total of 10 vehicles valued at $200,000 and more than 17,000 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of nearly $14 million were seized from the smugglers over a seven-year period. During that same time, 121 undocumented aliens linked to the organization were arrested.
Rio Grande City Assistant Port Director Sylvia Gutierrez is being honored with the Special Recognition Award as a member of the team tasked with redesigning and implementing the CBP Officer Basic Training/ Pre-Post Academy Field Trainer Qualification Course. This basic training curriculum teaches CBP officers how to prepare trainees to mentally, physically, and ethically meet the challenges and demands of a law enforcement position. The new curriculum, which was piloted in fiscal year 2010 and implemented in fiscal year 2011, has taken CBP's officer training to a higher level of competence. More than 300 CBP officers and 140 field operations training officers graduated from the new program.
In Brownsville, Acting Commissioner Aguilar recognized a CBP officer, who will go nameless due to the nature of the award, with the integrity award for his work that led to the conviction of a woman that had attempted to bribe him. The officer, stationed at the Brownsville Port of Entry, was offered a $10,000 bribe to not cancel a female Mexican citizen's visa. The officer's work with the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility led to the conviction of the woman for bribery of a public official and an 18-month prison sentence.
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.