EL PASO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at El Paso area ports of entry identified more than 271 violations during the past two weeks. CBP officers seized drugs, arrested illegal immigrants, captured fugitives and stopped prohibited agricultural items from entering the U.S. at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas, and New Mexico.
"CBP officers continue to quickly and efficiently process thousands of law abiding citizens daily," said Francis Brown, assistant director of field operations in El Paso. "Nevertheless the number of violations we encounter remains high - about 20 a day the last two weeks - and as a result CBP officers must remain focused and vigilant while performing their duties."
During the past seven days CBP officers recorded a total of 30 drug busts. They seized 9,173 pounds of marijuana in 26 seizures and smaller quantities of cocaine and heroin in four additional enforcement actions.
CBP officers uncovered 187 immigration violations during the last two weeks. Intended immigrants made up the largest group of violators. A total of 98 were identified through thorough document exams. In these cases, individuals will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. Violators generally lose their documents and are returned to Mexico.
CBP officers also identified a total of 30 impostors during the 14-day period. Imposters with previous criminal histories are generally booked into the El Paso County jail to face federal prosecution. Imposters are also removed from the United States for a minimum five year period and face federal felony charges if they attempt to illegally reenter the country again.
The balance of the immigration violators included those making false claims to U.S. citizenship, people attempting to enter with counterfeit or altered documents, visa overstay violations and people who had entered the country without inspection.
CBP officers working at area ports identified 27 wanted fugitives during the previous week.
Area CBP officers made 24 seizures of prohibited food and agricultural items this week, resulting in $4,350 in fines being assessed. Prohibited items seized this week included pork, pork skins, bologna, apples, oranges, pears, mangos, tangerines, avocados, potatoes and kiwis.
Area CBP officers also seized unreported currency, one handgun and ammunition. While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.
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.