CBP Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands FY2014 Review
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to play a vital role in the national security and economic prosperity of the United States. Today, CBP released a summary of fiscal year 2014 border enforcement efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, reflecting its focus on transparency, optimizing resources and building partnerships toward a commitment to securing a 21st century border against a variety of different threats and adversaries.
“This year, the men and women of CBP have risen to meet every challenge they faced and have remained committed to our primary national security mission,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “CBP responds to an evolving array of threats and challenges to the border environment. It is the vigilance and dedication of our frontline workforce that ensures our ability to execute our critical border security responsibilities.”
This Caribbean area effort is possible through collaborative operations and partnerships with other Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, which have become an integral part of CBP’s procedures, in order to generate reductions in illicit activity throughout the area.
In Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, CBP officers and agents seized over 51,043 pounds of narcotics with an estimated street value of approximately 650 million and seized approximately $10.6 million in unreported currency in FY 2014, which runs from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014.
The CBP Office of Air and Marine (Caribbean Air and Marine Branch) played a major role in the determent of illegal activity throughout our coasts, through the coordinated use of integrated air and marine forces to detect, interdict and prevent the unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs and other contraband in the area. Approximately 28,101 pounds of narcotics and $2,189,633 of currency were seized by CAMB this fiscal year.
Furthermore, CBP completed the restoration of eight Tethered Aerostat Radar Systems (TARS), which include the return last spring of a site in Lajas, in the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico. TARS is one of the major sensor feeds integrated into CBP’s domain awareness architecture managed by CBP’s Caribbean Air and Marine Operations Center. TARS detects low altitude tracks of interest approximately 200 miles out, well beyond the physical border, thereby significantly increasing domain awareness and time with which to plan and make decisions.
Ramey Border Patrol Agents patrol coastal areas in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and work to secure a safer environment as they prevent, deter, and arrest illegal aliens and narcotics that try to enter our area. During FY 2014, Ramey agents apprehended 958 undocumented aliens between the ports of entry; prosecuting 86 persons for violating federal immigration law based on illegal reentry. Regarding drug seizures, over 1,145 pounds of narcotics were seized by Border Patrol Agents.
In FY 2014, $55 million in Operation Stonegarden funding was provided to states to enhance cooperation and coordination among local, tribal, territorial, state and federal law enforcement agencies in a joint mission to secure the border. Puerto Rico received $809,572 expanding the scope of state and local police partners to work with the Ramey Border Patrol Sector.
CBP Field Operations Officers and Agriculture Specialists work to protect our borders at the ports of entry while facilitating legitimate trade and travel. CBP processed over 5.14 million travelers and 105,562 containers through our ports of entry during FY2014.
During this time, CBP field operations officers seized 21,797 pounds of narcotics and arrested 103 individuals, of which 21 were wanted for crimes, including murder, rape, assault, and robbery and denied entry to more than 1,364 people attempting to illegally enter the U.S. through an air or sea port of entry in our area. Furthermore, $8.4 million of currency interdictions were reported and over 80 firearms were seized.
Also this fiscal year, CBP in the San Juan Field Office processed nearly 294,766 imported product entries representing nearly $24.9 billion in regional trade volume. This volume represented the collection of $153.7 million in revenue for the U.S. CBP officers conducted more than 311 seizures related Intellectual Property Rights violations, with a domestic value of approximately $1.7 million.
During FY14, CBP Agriculture Specialists at the San Juan Field Office seized more than 24,668 prohibited plant materials, meat, animal byproducts and soil and intercepted nearly 4,184 pests. Five insects intercepted at our ports this year have been determined to be first time in port/nationwide and/or new pests.
At the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport this year, approximately 3,623 new travelers requested and were enrolled in the agency’s Trusted Traveler Programs (Global Entry) designed to expedite screening for low-risk travelers. CBP’s Trusted Traveler Programs are designed to expedite screening for low-risk travelers through rigorous and recurrent background checks.
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.