Garza Named Director of CBP's Laredo Field Office
Laredo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin announced that effective March 13 Gene Garza has been selected to serve as director, field operations for Laredo field office. Garza has been serving as interim director since the retirement of Leticia Moran in January.
The Laredo field office processes the largest amount of commercial traffic along the entire U.S.-Mexican border with more than $104 billion in merchandise entering during fiscal year 2010 through the 23 crossings, six airports and one seaport that comprise the eight ports of entry extending from Brownsville, Texas to Del Rio, Texas. In addition, in FY 2010 CBP officers processed nearly 84 million passengers, cars, railcars, trucks, buses and pedestrians.
A formal change of command ceremony will be announced at a later date.
"I am very honored at the confidence that Commissioner Bersin and Assistant Commissioner Thomas Winkowski have shown in selecting me to serve as Director, Field Operations for Laredo Field Office," Garza said. "I look forward to continuing the work and the initiatives I have started while serving in an acting capacity and building on that foundation to help strengthen our border security while facilitating lawful trade and travel."
Previously, Garza was the port director of the Laredo port of entry, first with the U.S. Customs Service and then with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As port director, Garza oversaw the largest inland port in the United States, managing more than 800 employees, four international bridges, one airport and a railroad bridge, with an annual budget of $12 million and with employees in Laredo; Del Rio; Eagle Pass; Roma; Hidalgo/Pharr; and Brownsville/Los Indios.
Garza started his federal career in 1971 with the U.S. Air Force, serving as a Military Policeman, at which time he was introduced to the U.S. Customs Service through the Customs Narcotic Detector Dog Training Center at Lackland Air Base in San Antonio, Texas. He began his civilian career as a Canine Enforcement Officer at the Port of Laredo in 1976.
Garza has held numerous supervisory and management positions at the district and Headquarters levels, including Acting National Canine Program Director and Canine Enforcement Chief. Under his leadership, the Port of Laredo has earned a number of Commissioner Unit Citations for outstanding performance by the Laredo passenger, trade, outbound, and enforcement teams. In 2007, he was recognized by Texas A&M International University, his alma mater, and by the Smithsonian Institution, as a Distinguished Alumnus in the Smithsonian Institution's Portraits of Latino Achievement.
In January 2011, Mr. Garza was recognized as a 2010 Tejano Achiever by LULAC Council 12. Hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council No. 12, the Tejano Achiever awards each year recognize extraordinary Laredoans who have distinguished themselves in various disciplines, including federal government, medicine, law and community activism.
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.