Three Arrests, Congo Impostor, Agriculture Penalties Top Busy Thanksgiving Weekend for Dulles, Baltimore CBP
BALTIMORE – While most of the nation celebrated with family during the long thanksgiving holiday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agriculture specialists continued to enforce U.S. laws and secure our nation’s borders. This vigilance resulted in the warrant arrests of three men, the ordered removal of a Congolese impostor, and $1,500 in agriculture smuggling penalties at Washington Dulles and Baltimore Washington (BWI) International Airports.
“Customs and Border Protection employees can’t afford to take a holiday,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles. “As our nation’s border security agency, CBP is charged with enforcing many laws at our ports on entry, while protecting our nation’s freedoms, our citizens, our agriculture industries, and our economy. It’s a very serious challenge, and one that we proudly accept. These enforcement activities are evidence of that commitment.”
The three arrests included James Trollinger, 50, of Owings Mills, Md., Kevin Lutes, 22, of Bethesda, Md., and Obinna Chibuzo Okoye, 47, of Beltsville, Md.
CBP officers at BWI arrested Trollinger on Friday on an Alexandria, Va., arrest warrant for communicating in writing a threat to kill or do bodily injury to another. He arrived on a flight from Costa Rica, and was turned over to Maryland Transportation Authority Police.
CBP officers at Dulles arrested Lutes on Saturday on Maryland burglary and property destruction charges, and arrested Okoye on Sunday on North Carolina fraud charges. Lutes arrived from Denmark; Okoye from Ethiopia. Both were turned over to Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police.
Criminal charges are merely allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Dulles CBP officers also ordered a Congo man removed from the U.S. on Sunday for visa fraud.
The man presented himself as a South African man traveling to the U.S. on a South African passport and a legitimate non-immigrant travel visa. During a secondary examination, CBP officers discovered three Congo passports in the man’s baggage and issued under the traveler’s true identity. The man admitted that he was an impostor to the South African passport, and that he used the South African passport to obtain the U.S. travel visa.
CBP is withholding the Congo man’s name since he wasn’t criminally charged.
Additionally, CBP agriculture specialists issued $900 combined in civil penalties at Dulles and $600 in combined penalties at BWI to travelers who attempted to smuggle prohibited agriculture products into the U.S.
These products include ruminant meat concealed inside clothing, chickpeas and rice from India, and a variety of pork products, fruits and vegetables. These products are prohibited from entering the U.S. without proper permitting and certification, and are vectors for animal diseases and destructive insect hitchhikers.
For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture restricts the importation of chickpeas and rice from India -- and other countries -- in passenger baggage due to the potential introduction of Khapra Beetle, which is considered as one of the most destructive insect pests in the world.
CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts dangerous narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture products, and other illicit items. View CBP enforcement priorities and stats at CBP Snapshot.
CBP Agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agriculture inspection.
On a typical day nationally, CBP agriculture specialists inspect over one million travelers, and air and sea cargo at our nation’s 328 ports of entry, and intercept 4,447 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 425 agriculture pests and diseases.
Learn more about CBP.
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.