BLAINE, WASH.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along with assistance from a special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) apprehended a U.S. citizen after fleeing the Pacific Highway crossing on August 8.
At approximately 11:30 a.m. PDT, a silver midsized SUV arrived at a primary processing booth where questioning by the CBP officer revealed that Seattle resident Jason Lau, 42, had just been refused entry into Canada. The CBP officer referred Lau to the secondary inspection area but he sped away before arriving in the secondary area.
Supervisory CBP officers, joined by the HSI agent pursued Lau in chase vehicles and Lau was stopped less than a mile away from the port. As officers approached, the subject became combative and was forcibly taken into custody and returned to the port.
"The quick action of the CBP officers and HSI agent involved prevented a possible life-threatening accident. Port runners will be apprehended and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," said Blaine Area Port Director Greg Alvarez.
Keeping terrorists from entering the country, preventing illegal entry, intercepting dangerous drugs and contraband, and apprehending fugitives are all part of what U.S. Customs and Border Protection does every day at the ports of entry and between the ports of entry. Smugglers and others trying to bypass inspection sometimes refuse to comply with instructions and "run the port."
"Port running," refers to incidents where a person or vehicle crossing into or out of the United States fails to stop or attempts to avoid or bypass inspection at a port of entry. These instances occur when an individual drives a vehicle into the United States through an open or closed port of entry without inspection.
People who engage in "port running" face serious consequences for their actions, including both civil and criminal penalties. A civil penalty of at least $5,000 and up to $10,000 may be levied and the vehicle may be seized. Lau faces federal criminal prosecution in U.S. District Court in Seattle on charges of assault on a federal officer and high speed flight from an immigration check point.
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.