Top Ten Events of 2009 for CBP in San Diego
San Diego - For U.S. Customs and Border Protection, every apprehension, every seizure, every arrest, every rescue, every interception, is important. However, at the year's end, some incidents stand out as especially memorable or significant.
CBP is the largest and most complex organization within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of U.S. borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP's mission is to keep terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country and enforce hundreds of U.S. laws. CBP consists of three operational offices: Field Operations safeguards 327 land, sea and air ports of entry; Border Patrol secures the borders between ports of entry, and the Office of Air and Marine supports these activities with patrol vessels and the world's largest law enforcement air force.
Below is a list of the "top ten" CBP events in the San Diego area in 2009:
- Murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas
In Southern California this year, CBP lost two of our own: U.S. Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas and CBP Officer Maribel Arteaga. Agent Rosas was shot and killed after responding to suspicious activity in an area notorious for alien and drug smuggling.
- Interdictions at Sea on the Rise
In fiscal year 2009, members of the San Diego Maritime Task Force, including CBP's Office of Air and Marine, Field Operations, and the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other law enforcement, performed 430 arrests of illegal aliens and U.S. citizens arrested for drug and human smuggling, compared to 230 last fiscal year. These apprehensions included smugglers towing a surfboard with marijuana, illegal immigrants on jet skis, three U.S. teens with about half a ton of marijuana on their boat, a panga with 23 illegal immigrants on board, and a small Zodiac boat with ten duffel bags with marijuana on the deck, amongst other incidents.
- Southbound Currency Seizures
Following Secretary Napolitano's announcement earlier this year about increasing southbound operations, CBP's Field Operations, together with the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, have stopped numerous instances of illegal activity, including a Field Operations $500,000 currency seizure, the largest in Southern California.
- CBP's largest narcotics seizure in the nation (by weight) from Otay Mesa
At the Otay Mesa cargo facility, officers discovered 5 tons of marijuana hidden in a tractor trailer shipment manifested as toilet paper.
- Largest group of illegal immigrants apprehended by the San Diego Sector
In one of the largest groups of illegal immigrants apprehended this year, Border Patrol agents at the Pine Valley checkpoint found 73 illegal immigrants in a tractor-trailer.
- Capturing America's Most Wanted
CBP is responsible for apprehending numerous fugitives, wanted by international, federal, state, and local authorities throughout the United States and around the world. In one notable example in 2009, CBP officers apprehended a suspect, wanted for homicide, who was scheduled to be featured on the television program America's Most Wanted.
- Suspected Smuggling Tunnel Discovered Near Border in Otay Mesa
One of several tunnels discovered this year, the San Diego Tunnel Task Force uncovered a tunnel in Otay Mesa that was purportedly used for cross-border smuggling purposes.
- CBP Rescues Eight Illegal Immigrants Trapped in Drain Pipe
One of numerous rescues in Southern California this year, these eight were trapped, but rescued without serious injury.
- Two Different Baby Strollers with Marijuana
Everyday, CBP finds narcotics hidden in novel places, or in deep concealments. In two different incidents this year, CBP officers found women pushing their children in strollers with marijuana hidden underneath.
- Off-Duty Border Patrol Agent Nabs Sexual Assault Suspect
When he noticed a man being chased by a woman through traffic, an off-duty Border Patrol agent abandoned his own vehicle to give chase, catching the man accused of sexual assault.
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.