Los Angeles- U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex intercepted and seized a Vietnam Memorial Plaque which disappeared in 2004 from its original owners Americans Who Care, Inc. a Fayetteville, North Carolina Prisoners of Warn and Missing in Action organization.
On April 19, CBP officers from LA/Long Beach seaport outbound enforcement Team seized the plaque which was discovered during a targeted outbound inspection of a shipment heading to Thailand containing military surplus items.
"This discovery attests the attentiveness, vigilance and high degree of expertise of CBP's outbound enforcement team at LA/Long Beach seaport. I commend the CBP officers involved in the recovery of this piece of history that will bring closure to military families in Fayetteville," said Carlos Martel, CBP Acting Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles.
After contacting Americans Who Care, Inc., CBP officers learned that the plaque disappeared when it was given to a refinishing company to repolish in 2004 but it was never returned. The POW-MIA organization stated that the refinishing company declared bankruptcy and the plaque was later sold over the internet.
"Its return will bring great relief to many and deep healing that it will be coming home to this magnificent Freedom Park off the military post and in full view of any who want to pay tribute to our military men and women. The land being owned by the city of Fayetteville will bring closure as well that it now belongs to the people," said Janice Lee Urton, a member of Americans Who Care. The plaque lists 19 names of POWs and MIAs. In coordination with Fayetteville police department the plaque will be returned to its original owners.
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.