SOUTH TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Field Operations in South Texas worked within its means to facilitate heavy Holy Week traffic and posted significant results: $17.8 million in narcotics seized and more than 292,000 tourist permits processed.
Over a 10-day period ending on March 31, CBP officers at eight ports of entry extending from Brownsville to Del Rio seized narcotics totaling $17.8 million in street value and processed more than 292,000 tourist permits, a 4 percent increase from the 280,765 permits processed during the same period in FY 2012. Nearly half of the total permits, 140,715 were processed at the Laredo Port of Entry alone.
Specifically, CBP officers at South Texas ports seized 5,987 pounds of marijuana, 76 pounds of cocaine, 163 pounds of methamphetamine and 71 pounds of heroin. CBP officials also uncovered 938 violations of immigration law and apprehended 42 wanted fugitives.
CBP officers realized these enforcement successes and maintained border security at the ports while implementing measures designed to facilitate lawful trade and travel. CBP constantly monitored traffic during Holy Week and opened as many lanes as possible commensurate with traffic flow.
"We had prepared well for the annual spike in Holy Week traffic at our South Texas ports. The tourist permit totals and robust enforcement activity help to validate and honor the planning, hard work and sacrifices made to keep the traffic moving," said Eugenio Garza Jr., CBP Director, Field Operations, Laredo Field Office.
As we approach the summer travel season, the traveling public is urged to obtain radio frequency identification-enabled documents such as U.S. passport cards or newer version of the border crossing card or resident alien card so that they may be able to use the Ready Lanes. In addition, the traveling public may tune in to AM 1610 in Laredo and Brownsville for some helpful border crossing information or check the wait times.
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.