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CBP in Southern California: Narcotics Seizures Up, Illegal Entry Apprehensions Down for FY 2011

Release Date: 
December 12, 2011

San Diego - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Southern California seized more than 158 tons of narcotics and stopped more than 100,000 attempts to enter the country illegally during federal fiscal year 2011.

The federal fiscal year (FY) 2011 ran from Oct. 1, 2010 through Sept. 30, 2011, and the totals above for CBP in Southern California include statistics from the CBP Office of Field Operations San Diego Field Office, the U.S. Border Patrol San Diego Sector, and the U.S. Border Patrol El Centro Sector.

Also during FY2011, the San Diego Air and Marine Branch of CBP logged more than 5,200 hours at sea, securing the ocean border near Southern California, and more than 8,100 hours in the skies above. The El Centro Air Branch also contributed more than 2,500 hours of flight time securing U.S. borders. These missions, in support of not just CBP operations, but also operations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, and many other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies helped officials stop illegal activity both near the border, as well as in other parts of California, as far north as Sacramento.

Here are some enforcement and workload highlights for CBP in Southern California during fiscal year 2011.

At the Ports of Entry - FY2010 At the Ports of Entry - FY2011 Between the Ports of Entry - San Diego Sector FY2010 Between the Ports of Entry - San Diego Sector FY2011 Between the Ports of Entry - El Centro Sector FY2010 Between the Ports of Entry - El Centro Sector FY2011 Combined California Corridor Activity - FY2011(total)
Illegal Entry Apprehensions 41,710 37,277 68,565 42,447 32,562 30,191 109,915
Marijuana (lbs.) 164,885 170,467 21,576 68,825 10,282 49,815 289,107
Cocaine (lbs.) 8,771 13,811 1,343 2,504 1,377 1,335 17,650
Heroin (lbs.) 570 1,015 31 55 67 66 1,136
Methamphetamine (lbs.) 5,456 7,320 306 549 120 244 8,113

San Diego Field Office, CBP Office of Field Operations (at the ports of entry)

  • CBP officers performed more than 62.5 million inspections for travelers entering the U.S., including inspections of about: 24,652,515 passenger vehicles; 1,102,534 trucks; 101,061 buses; and 16,429,429 pedestrians.
  • CBP officers seized $5,767,267 in hidden and unreported currency heading out of the United States illegally.
  • CBP officers with the San Diego Field Office accounted for 31 percent of the marijuana, 29 percent of the cocaine, 29 percent of the heroin, and 69 percent of the methamphetamine seized at air, sea, and land ports of entry nationwide.
  • CBP agriculture specialists performed 7,768,628 agricultural inspections in the passenger environment and 60,290 inspections in the cargo environment. These inspections resulted in 78,651 seizures of prohibited plant materials, soil, meat, or animal products and finding 977 cargo shipments that did not meet the U.S. entry requirements, causing the shipments to be either sent back, treated, or destroyed.
  • CBP officers stopped 2,046 wanted fugitives with active felony warrants for their arrest for such crimes as homicide, robbery and assault by local, state or federal police agencies. This compares to 1,774 apprehensions for the same period last year.
  • At cargo processing facilities in Southern California, CBP personnel collected an estimated $150 million in duties, money which goes into the national treasury to fund government expenditures. CBP officers and import specialist processed merchandise, imported into the U.S., worth and estimated $33.3 billion.
  • San Diego Field Office includes almost 2,000 front-line CBP officers, agriculture specialists, and support staff.

San Diego Sector, CBP U.S. Border Patrol

  • U.S. Border Patrol agents performed 19 rescue missions, rescuing 27 people, compared to 27 missions rescuing 44 people last fiscal year.
  • There were 77 assaults against U.S. Border Patrol agents, compared to 130 last fiscal year.
  • U.S. Border Patrol agents recorded 14 deaths within their area of responsibility, compared to eight last fiscal year.
  • U.S. Border Patrol agents seized almost $2 million during the past fiscal year.
  • The San Diego Sector includes approximately 2,800 U.S. Border Patrol agents and other personnel.

El Centro Sector, CBP U.S. Border Patrol

  • U.S. Border Patrol agents performed eight rescue missions, rescuing 28 people, compared to 20 missions rescuing 39 people last fiscal year.
  • There were 124 assaults against U.S. Border Patrol agents, compared to 130 last fiscal year.
  • U.S. Border Patrol agents recorded five deaths within their area of responsibility, compared to 14 last fiscal year.
  • The El Centro Sector includes approximately 1,260 U.S. Border Patrol agents and other personnel.

San Diego Air and Marine Branch, CBP Office of Air and Marine

  • Personnel contributed to more than 4,040 apprehensions of persons attempting illegal activity.
  • Personnel contributed to 58 weapons, 50 vehicles, 28 maritime vessels, and one aircraft seized.
  • Because of missions completed by personnel, more than $11 million was seized.
  • Air Interdiction Agents, Marine Interdiction Agents, and other personnel seized 776,263 pounds of marijuana, 824 pounds of cocaine, 671 pounds of methamphetamine, and nine pounds of heroin during operations along the border, joint operations with the U.S. Border Patrol, and operations in support of other law enforcement agencies throughout California.

El Centro Air Branch, CBP Office of Air and Marine

  • Air Interdiction Agents performed 34 rescue missions. (Please note, this number represents events, not individuals. One event could involve multiple individuals.)
  • Personnel contributed to 2,522 apprehensions of persons attempting to enter the country illegally, as well as 47 arrests of people allegedly conducting illegal activity related to immigration violations and other crimes.
  • Personnel contributed to 36 vehicles, one maritime vessel, one aircraft, and one weapon seized.
  • Air Interdiction Agents, together with other personnel seized 10,198 pounds of marijuana and 41 pounds of heroin during operations along the border, joint operations with the U.S. Border Patrol, and operations in support of other law enforcement agencies throughout California.

Maritime InterdictionsCBP is a member agency of the Maritime Unified Command in Southern California. The Maritime Unified Command is also comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as state and local law enforcement partners operating in the San Diego and Orange County maritime domain. The Maritime Unified Command utilizes the fusion of intelligence, planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the southern California coastal border.

  • In FY 2011, maritime security by MUC member agencies resulted in the apprehension of 631 persons related to a maritime smuggling incident, including illegal aliens, U.S. citizens charged with smuggling, and non-U.S. citizens charged with smuggling, compared to 867 the previous fiscal year.
  • During FY2011, MUC activities resulted in about 25,037 pounds of marijuana seized and 122 conveyances seized, such as boats, vehicles, trailers, jet skis, and other motorized conveyances, compared to about 27,440 pounds of marijuana and 160 pounds of other narcotics as well as 110 conveyances seized the previous fiscal year.

Within CBP, the Office of Field Operations is responsible for all activity at the legal ports of entry into the United States for commercial and regular traffic, whether arriving by land, air, or sea. The San Diego Field Office includes all border crossings into the U.S. along the California/Mexico border at San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, Tecate, Calexico, and Andrade, as well as seaport and airport operations.

As a part of CBP, the U.S. Border Patrol reduces the likelihood that dangerous people and capabilities enter the U.S. between official ports of entry. Additionally, Border Patrol Agents operate strategically located checkpoints at areas of egress from the border while continuously targeting the transnational criminal organizations that pose the greatest risk to our communities. The San Diego Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol has an area of responsibility that stretches from the Pacific Ocean to approximately the center of California, where the El Centro Sector takes responsibility for most of border from there to the California/Arizona border.

CBP Office of Air and Marine operates the world's largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization, and has two branches in Southern California, the San Diego Air and Marine Branch and the El Centro Air Branch. The San Diego Air and Marine Branch features maritime units headquartered out of North Island Naval Air Station on Coronado, as well as air units stationed at Brown Field Airport near Otay Mesa, North Island Naval Air Station on Coronado, Sacramento, and Riverside, Calif., and an aviation facility in Pine Valley, Calif. The El Centro Air Branch is located in Imperial, Calif, and patrols all of Imperial County and the inland portions of Riverside County.

Here is some brief analysis of the trends faced by CBP in Southern California during fiscal year 2011.

According to Chris Maston, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego, "We have an incredible responsibility at the ports of entry to not only interdict illegal activity that we encounter, but also to speed legitimate travel and trade into the United States. These numbers tell the story of the impressive job that our officers, agents, and others in San Diego accomplish everyday. Part of how we accomplish this is by using layered systems to identify high-risk passengers and cargo for examination, compressing the amount of questionable passengers and cargo which allows officers to focus on those deemed high-risk. But the threats remain, and we will continue to leverage our technology, intelligence gathering, and personnel at the ports of entry to stop all violations and to keep this country safe."

According to San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Paul Beeson of the U.S. Border Patrol, "Numbers for Southern California reflect the national trends, with narcotics interdictions on the rise and illegal alien apprehensions falling. Locally, we see our increased enforcement efforts driving transnational criminal organizations to attempt new routes and new methods for their illegal activity, leading to our continued discovery of tunnels, for example."

According to El Centro Sector Chief Patrol Agent Jeffrey Calhoon of the U.S. Border Patrol, "We continue to work at strengthening our partnerships both within CBP and with other law enforcement agencies in San Diego and Imperial counties, as well as in Mexico. As we face emerging threats, such as the ultralight aircraft we are increasingly spotting during attempts to smuggle narcotics into the United States, we will leverage those partnerships to detect these threats, deter illegal activity, and ultimately dismantle the illegal operations."

According to Bill Raymond, Director of Air Operations for CBP in San Diego, "Here in Southern California, one trend we continue to see is an increase in maritime activity. This is a threat that law enforcement officials foresaw several years ago, as enforcement along the land border increased, and responded to by creating the Maritime Unified Command, a partnership among local, state, and federal partners to combat the emerging threat. These partnerships continue to strengthen and are successful, as evidenced by these criminal organizations being forced to go further out to sea, and further north. These routes are more difficult, but they choose to use them during their unsuccessful attempts to elude authorities."

According to Robert Baker, Director of Air Operations for CBP in El Centro, "The desert environment in Imperial Valley is harsh and dangerous. Transnational criminal organizations use these areas as smuggling routes which clearly demonstrates their willingness to place profits over the concern for others. Our 34 rescue missions demonstrate CBP's commitment and concern in protecting our borders while saving lives."

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017