SOUTH TEXAS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at South Texas ports of entry facilitated an even heavier volume of tourists during Holy Week 2014 than the same period last year while their steely-eyed vigilance resulted in a decrease in the amount of narcotics encountered.
“We implemented our time-honored facilitation measures to process Holy Week traffic at the South Texas ports of entry, which was bolstered in some locations in the Rio Grande Valley by additional officer hours through the public-private partnership with the South Texas Assets Consortium,” said Noel Sanchez, Acting Director, Field Operations, Laredo Field Office. “We will continue to work together through these partnerships and the recently announced new officer positions to facilitate lawful trade and travel while upholding our border security mission as well.”
Over a 10-day period ending on April 20, CBP officers at eight ports of entry extending from Brownsville to Del Rio seized narcotics totaling $7.9 million in street value and processed 313,790 tourist permits, a 7 percent increase from the 292,000 permits processed during the same period in FY 2013. Nearly half of the total permits, 154,240, were processed at the Laredo Port of Entry alone.
Specifically, CBP officers at South Texas ports seized 221 pounds of cocaine, 92 pounds of marijuana, 17 pounds of heroin and seven pounds of methamphetamine during Holy Week 2014. The amount of cocaine rose from the 76 pounds seized during the same period last year but narcotics decreased in all other categories.
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.
As we approach the summer travel season, the traveling public is urged to obtain radio frequency identification (RFID) enabled documents such as U.S. passport cards or newer versions 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 or AM 1610 in Brownsville for some helpful border crossing information or check the wait times by logging on to CBP Border 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.