San Diego - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at San Diego area ports of entry revoked the memberships of several SENTRI participants last week after they were caught violating U.S. law or violating the terms of Secure Electronic Network for Traveler's Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) program.
"Travelers entering the United States must declare everything that they acquire from abroad," said Director of Field Operations for San Diego Paul Morris. SENTRI participants are not exempt from this requirement. Failure to declare all items such as fruits and vegetables, merchandise and souvenirs places a SENTRI participant as risk of being fined or arrested, and removed immediately from trusted traveler programs," he said.
On Wednesday, March 7 at 8:30 p.m., a 31-year-old San Ysidro woman, her husband and two minor children, all SENTRI participants were referred for a secondary inspection after they entered the Otay Mesa port of entry through a designated SENTRI vehicle lane in a 1999 Toyota Corolla. The woman said they had nothing to declare.
During the inspection, officers found a commercial quantity of undeclared wearing apparel. The merchandise was seized, the driver was assessed a $111 penalty, and the family's SENTRI privileges were revoked.
Several hours later at the Otay Mesa border station, a 37-year-old San Diego woman accompanied by her husband and minor son entered the Otay Mesa border station in a 2004 Ford Expedition. The driver was referred for an examination after she declared she was bringing food from Mexico.
During a secondary inspection, officers discovered an undeclared commercial quantity of merchandise such as creams, cough drops, and soaps. The merchandise was seized, the driver was assessed a penalty of almost $2,300, and the family's SENTRI privileges were revoked.
On April 1, at 8:14 p.m. at the Tecate port of entry, officers encountered a 47-year-old Dulzura man who entered the port through a regular vehicle lane and presented his SENTRI card to enter the United States. The man claimed he had nothing to declare.
During a secondary inspection, officers found several undeclared agricultural items including pork products which are prohibited from entering the U.S.
Officers seized the goods, cancelled his SENTRI card, and assessed him a monetary penalty of $300.
Microscopic plant and animal pests and diseases are a threat to American agriculture and because pork meat is susceptible to disease, it is prohibited.
"We trust but we also verify that users are complying with the rules of the program and the laws of the U.S. Not only do prohibited products pose a risk to the U.S. agriculture industry, but travelers also violate the terms of SENTRI membership by trying to import commercial quantities through the SENTRI lane," said Morris.
SENTRI members are informed upon enrollment that any violation of U.S. law or violation of the SENTRI program is grounds for termination from the program.