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CBP Access

CBP Access | March 2022

CBP Access is an electronic newspage developed by the Office of Congressional Affairs for Members of Congress and staff. If you are interested in subscribing to the CBP Access email distribution list, please send an email to OCAInquiry@cbp.dhs.gov.

“When someone is in distress, their safety and well-being come before their citizenship, nationality, or immigration status. The same resources used for border security are immediately directed to those in need.”

– Robert Sellers, Supervisory Marine Interdiction Agent, Air and Marine Operations

Message from the Deputy Assistant Commissioner

The human smuggling business is all about profit. Human smugglers or “coyotes,” who promise people that they will safely guide them to a destination, often abandon their human cargo at some point, leaving them to fend for themselves and continue their illegal and dangerous journey with insufficient supplies and information. The terrain and weather conditions along our Nation's expansive Southwest and Northern Borders, as well as our sea approaches, make already risky crossings even more treacherous. 

Along the Southwest Border, individuals attempt to cross vast stretches of desert, unforgiving mountain terrain, or the swift and unpredictable Rio Grande. Along the Northern Border, winter can bring sub-zero temperatures and blizzard conditions to the remote plains, lakes, and woods.  Both border regions experience dramatic and unpredictable temperature changes year-round, meaning individuals lost or left behind in desolate areas are at risk of dehydration, heat stroke or hypothermia, or death. Smugglers will guide or direct vulnerable individuals and families along dangerous routes to avoid CBP detection, but instead risk their lives.

CBP is the Nation’s border security agency, charged with enforcing our laws and stopping dangerous people and substances from entering the United States; however, the equipment, technology, and dedicated personnel that that secure our borders also serve to rescue people from dangerous situations and save lives.

Responsible for securing the land and sea borders between official ports of entry, CBP’s U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) and Air and Marine Operations (AMO) saved more than 13,000 people conducting rescue operations in fiscal year 2021. Regardless of the terrain, weather conditions, or remote location, USBP and AMO agents are committed to these humanitarian efforts and are prepared and equipped to rescue those in distress. 

This month’s CBP Access shares some of CBP’s recent search and rescue efforts and the USBP and AMO agents who put their own safety at risk to save lives. I also invite you to read CBP’s Frontline magazine feature articles, Answering the Call and Saving Lost Migrants, for more information.

–Stephanie Talton, Deputy Assistant Commissioner

Arizona  |  CBP Rescues Individuals from the Baboquivari Mountains, Sabino Canyon, and Sand Dunes near Yuma

AMO hoist injured migrant into helicopter
An injured migrant is airlifted by AMO and USBP teams. 
CBP File Photo
Injured man airlifted by AMO crew
An AMO crew extracts an
injured man from Sabino

On March 11, the USBP Arizona Air Coordination Center (A2C2) received a call from the Tohono O’odham Police Department requesting assistance with two migrants in the Baboquivari Mountains.  The two men had been in the desert for several days were out of water, exhausted, and could not walk any further.  A2C2 was able to use the smartphone application WhatsApp to identify their coordinates 20 miles north of the border, north of Baboquivari Peak. Around 9:10 p.m. that evening, an AMO UH-60 Black Hawk aircrew located the migrants at over 6,800 feet in altitude, deep in the Baboquivari wilderness.  The crew could not find a suitable landing area near the migrants due to the steep, rugged terrain. After establishing a hover 100 feet above the ground, the crew inserted two AMO Rescue Specialists via hoist, who assessed the migrants, secured them in air rescue vests, and hoisted them back up the helicopter.

The week before, Pima County search and rescue contacted the A2C2 requesting assistance for a heat stroke victim in Sabino Canyon approximately 2.5 miles along the Seven Falls trail northeast of Tucson. The A2C2 relayed the request to the AMO Tucson Air Branch which launched a UH-60 crew immediately, and, upon arrival, extracted the individual and an AMO Rescue Specialist via hoist. An AMO Emergency Medical Technician on board assessed the 25-year-old male U.S. citizen who was suffering from heat related injuries. The man was transported to a Pima County Sheriff’s Office rescue team nearby.

UH-60 Black Hawk used to extract injured man from Sabino Canyon
An AMO UH-60 Black Hawk was used to extract in injured
man from Sabino Canyon.

On March 6, the El Centro Sector Calexico Border Patrol station notified agents working in the field of two individuals lost in the sand dunes due to high winds and limited visibility and needed assistance. The agents located the individuals about 30 minutes later, approximately a quarter mile north of the US-Mexico border. After a wellness check, the individuals were taken into custody and transported to the El Centro Sector Processing Center for additional medical evaluation and processing.  Since October, El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents have successfully rescued 148 individuals who were lost, in distress, or abandoned by smugglers.

California  |  Lost Migrant Rescued in Jacumba Wilderness

Sunday evening, February 27, Border Patrol agents from the El Centro Sector rescued a migrant in the Jacumba Wilderness region near Ocotillo, California.  Shortly before 6:00 p.m., El Centro Sector’s Foreign Operations Branch notified the El Centro Station of a lost individual in need of assistance. Agents were notified of the distress call and responded to the last known GPS coordinates provided. Agents located the individual about 30 minutes later, approximately a mile and a half north of the US-Mexico border. After a wellness check, it was determined no immediate medical assistance was needed. The individual was taken into custody and transported to the El Centro Sector Processing Center for additional medical evaluation and to be processed accordingly.  

Florida  |  CBP Rescues 158 Haitian Migrants Attempting to Swim After Vessel Runs Aground 

Migrants on a vessel that grounded offshore of Key Largo
Vessel grounded containing 356 Haitian migrants

On March 6, CBP and other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners responded to a maritime smuggling event near Key Largo, Florida. After running aground several hundred yards offshore, numerous migrants jumped off the vessel and attempted to swim toward the shore despite rough sea conditions. CBP and partner law enforcement agencies reacted quickly and rescued numerous migrants from the water. A total of 158 migrants were rescued, evaluated by Emergency Medical Services, and then taken into USBP custody. An additional 198 migrants remained onboard and were safely removed from the vessel and taken into custody by the U.S. Coast Guard. An investigation regarding the incident is ongoing.   

CBP's AMO recently responded to another rescue incident in the Florida Keys on March 16, approximately three nautical miles south of Marathon, after overhearing a mayday call on their radios. The AMO vessel crews had been conducting training, but immediately responded to the distress call and found that the boat was quickly taking on large amounts of water. AMO agents safely disembarked all four passengers.

Minnesota  |  Border Patrol Agents Rescue Five in Blizzard, Two Children and Two Adults Tragically Perish

Border Patrol agents on snowmobiles along the Northern Border
Border Patrol Agents use snowmobiles along the Northern
Border, where winter can bring sub-zero temperatures
and blizzard conditions.  CBP File Photo.

On January 19, Border Patrol agents assigned to the Grand Forks Sector stopped a smuggling attempt near Humboldt, Minnesota, rescuing five individuals from treacherous, sub-zero conditions. A Border Patrol agent stopped a vehicle driven by a U.S. citizen on Minnesota Highway 75 near Humboldt at approximately 9:15 a.m. The two passengers in the vehicle were citizens of India who recently crossed the border illegally from Canada. Assisting agents then encountered five additional people walking on a nearby road experiencing severe signs of hypothermia and frostbite due to exposure to the extreme cold and wind chill. Agents immediately rendered aid and called for Emergency Medical Services. Aside from one woman needing advance care, all migrants encountered by agents during this incident were taken into custody and transported to the Pembina Station for further processing. At the station, agents discovered toddler clothing in a bag recovered from the site of apprehension, immediately initiated a search and rescue operation to look for additional migrants and notified the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).  RCMP discovered four individuals on the Canadian side of the border who perished in the extreme weather conditions. The decedents included two children and two adults.

Puerto Rico  |  AMO, Border Patrol Rescue Migrants Stranded on Desolate Island

Migrants are loaded into an AMO aircraft after being rescued when their vessel grounded offshore
Migrants are boarded on an CAMB Blackhawk
helicopter in Desecheo .

On March 6, a concerned citizen contacted the USBP Ramey Sector indicating that a group of migrants was abandoned on Desecheo island, a desolate island 13 mi (21 km) from Rincón on the west coast of Puerto Rico. With rough seas impeding a safe removal by boat, an AMO Black hawk was diverted from another mission to remove the migrants from the island. Ramey Sector Border Patrol Agents departed with the AMO crew and reached the migrants on the side of the island where they were abandoned. The agents guided the migrants through the rough terrain and elevation to another side of the island where the Black hawk was able to land and transport the migrants to the Ramey station.  

Texas  |  Families Alive After Harrowing Rescues by Border Patrol Agents

Family rescued from the Rio Grande by Del Rio Border Patrol agents
Del Rio Border Patrol agents rescued a family of four,
stranded in the Rio Grande.

On February 12, Del Rio Sector Eagle Pass Border Patrol Station agents were conducting line watch duties near International Bridge No. 2 when they observed a family unit crossing the Rio Grande. As the individuals neared the U.S. riverbank, the ground they were standing on collapsed and they plunged into deep water. The family began to struggle to stay afloat as the swift current carried them down river. One agent quickly jumped into the river and another agent hurled a rescue bag that unfortunately didn’t reach the group. The agent in the river managed to pull the mother and child to safety then dared the waters once more to rescue the adult male. The man had been underwater for an extended period before the agent was able to reach him. Upon being pulled to safety, agents rendered aid and contacted Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The family was evaluated by EMS, who recommended they be transported to a local hospital for further treatment. The 33-year-old man, 34-year-old woman, and 5-year-old girl, all from Haiti, received medical care and were released from the hospital and processed in accordance with CBP policies and guidelines.

A 5-yr-old girl is reunited with her mother after human smugglers left the girl on an island in the Rio Grande
A young girl abandoned by smugglers on an island is
reunited with her mother.

A few weeks later, on March 7, USBP Del Rio Station Marine Unit agents observed four migrants struggling to cross the Rio Grande. Water levels were high, and the river was producing cold, strong currents endangering the lives of the migrants. Agents immediately deployed two rescue throw bags from land but were unsuccessful in reaching the family. The agents then quickly deployed an airboat and successfully rescued the father and mother and their two small children, ages two and three. The subjects did not require medical attention and transported to the Del Rio Station. Between March 4 and 7, Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents performed 45 water rescues.

Although many families attempt to cross the border together, smugglers are ruthless and will not hesitate to separate migrants for convenience or to gain compliance. On November 13, 2021, Border Patrol agents assigned to Eagle Pass Station encountered a group of migrants who had recently crossed the border. An adult female in the group reported to agents that her 5-year-old daughter was left behind on an island in the Rio Grande between the U.S. and Mexico. Agents notified the Eagle Pass Station Riverine Unit who immediately responded to the area and located a total of 10 undocumented migrants on the island, including the juvenile daughter.  The family members, both Venezuelan nationals, were immediately reunited on scene.

CBP Missing Migrant Program Uses Public Radio to Identify a Deceased Man Found in Falfurrias

On October 4, 2022, Falfurrias Border Patrol Station agents received a call from a ranch employee about the discovery of a decedent who was found with a cell phone, but no identification, and was severely decomposed. Agents and Brooks County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) deputies responded, and the decedent was ultimately transported to the Brooks County morgue. A few days later, BCSO requested the assistance of the Missing Migrant Program (MMP) to identify the decedent. Fingerprints obtained through macro-photography did not yield a database match, but MMP agents were able to contact an individual in Guatemala listed in the cell phone as “hermano” (brother). That person did not know of anyone who was travelling to the United States but wanted to assist and advised that he would solicit help from the community through a radio station in Guatemala.

That same day, agents received a call from a man in New York who stated he had a friend from Guatemala that was heading to the United States, but last heard from him on September 25, 2021. He advised he heard the information while listening to a Guatemalan radio station on the internet. He believed his friend was left abandoned in the brush near Falfurrias, Texas. MMP agents found a person matching his friend’s name on a list of missing citizens from Guatemala. They requested his fingerprints from the Guatemalan Consulate and through the USBP Joint Forensic Center were able to confirm a positive match for the decedent. This is only one of the many successes of MMP’s “reunification” mission.  Although the program strives to save lives through the deployment of rescue beacons and location placards throughout the southwest border, the successful identification of decedents provides closure to mourning families.

Enforcement News from Across CBP

CBP Officers Discover 18 Pounds of Cocaine in Airplane Cargo Hold

photo of seized drugs

Philadelphia, PA — On March 15, CBP officers at Philadelphia International Airport found 18 pounds of cocaine while performing a routine inspection of a cargo hold. CBP officers met the American Airlines flight from Montego Bay, Jamaica, as it gated, observed the aircraft baggage offload, and then climbed into the cargo hold to conduct a routine examination. That’s when CBP narcotics detector dog Dasha immediately alerted to an access panel. CBP officers discovered three bags that shouldn’t be there. Two gray Puma brand drawstring bags collectively contained eight wrapped bricks of a white powdery substance. CBP officers used a narcotics test kit and a handheld elemental isotope analysis tool and identified the substance as cocaine hydrochloride. The third bag, a plain blue duffle bag, was empty. CBP officers seized the cocaine, which weighed a combined 8.246 kilograms, or about 18 pounds, three ounces. The cocaine has an approximate street value of about $580,000. No arrests have been made. An investigation continues.

 CBP Officers Seize $587K Worth of Narcotics in Three Seizures

photo of seized cocaine

Brownsville, TX — CBP officers at the Brownsville Port of Entry intercepted alleged narcotics in three separate enforcement actions with a combined estimated street value of $587,140. The first seizure took place on March 17, at the Veterans International Bridge when a 25-year-old male U.S. citizen was referred to CBP secondary for further examination of his vehicle. Using a non-intrusive imaging system (NII), CBP officers discovered 10 packages hidden within the vehicle, which contained a total of 26.32 pounds of alleged cocaine. The second seizure took place on March 19, at the Gateway International Bridge when a 22-year-old female U.S. citizen was referred to CBP secondary for further examination. With the aid of a canine unit, CBP officers discovered 10 packages hidden in the vehicle, which contained a total of 26.94 pounds of alleged cocaine. The third seizure took place on March 22, at the Gateway International Bridge when a 23-year-old female U.S. citizen. After being referred to secondary inspection, a canine alerted CBP officers to 10 hidden packages, which contained a total of 22.61 pounds of alleged cocaine.

Office of Congressional Affairs | March 2022


CBP Access | October 2021

CBP Access is an electronic newspage developed by the Office of Congressional Affairs for Members of Congress and staff. If you are interested in subscribing to the CBP Access email distribution list, please send an email to OCAInquiry@cbp.dhs.gov.

Message from the  Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner

CBP's trade mission is not only a critical component of national security, it is a significant driving force of the country’s economic prosperity. CBP processes more than $2.3 trillion of imports every year, generating billions of dollars of critical government revenue. CBP is committed to its complex dual role while enforcing nearly 500 U.S. trade laws and regulations on behalf of 49 different partner government agencies. The updates below highlight some of the recent operational and enforcement initiatives CBP has implemented to rigorously enforce all U.S. trade laws and facilitate legitimate trade, helping create a level playing field for American businesses, protect consumers, and reduce trading costs. 

–Patrick Schmidt, Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner

New CBP Trade Leadership

photograph of Highsmith

In June, CBP selected AnnMarie R. Highsmith as Executive Assistant Commissioner and John P. Leonard as Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner to lead the Office of Trade. As stewards of CBP’s trade mission, Ms. Highsmith and Mr. Leonard will oversee CBP’s efforts to facilitate trade and to safeguard America’s national and economic security by creating a level playing field for U.S. businesses, reducing the costs of trade, and protecting American consumers from illicit and unsafe goods.

“Executive Assistant Commissioner Highsmith’s expertise in customs law and experience enhancing the enforcement of those laws make her uniquely qualified to lead CBP’s trade modernization efforts,” said Troy Miller, the CBP Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner. “Under Executive Assistant Commissioner Highsmith’s leadership, I am confident that the CBP Office of Trade will continue to strengthen America’s national security and economic prosperity.”

Ms. Highsmith had served as CBP’s Deputy Chief Counsel since 2013. As the chief operating officer of one of the government’s premier legal teams, Ms. Highsmith enhanced CBP’s enforcement of trade laws designed to protect U.S. consumers and businesses. She also aligned customs procedures with modern business practices to enhance the economic competitiveness of the United States. In addition to her service with CBP, Ms. Highsmith served as Acting Chief Counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (2020) and Acting Associate General Counsel for General Law at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2013). Ms. Highsmith received the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2017.

Combating Forced Labor in Supply Chains 

CBP continues to aggressively investigate and prevent goods made by forced labor from entering U.S. commerce.  Forced labor is a form of modern-day slavery that violates international labor standards and universal human rights. The United States will not tolerate forced labor in our supply chains and stands against cruel and inhumane labor practices.

photo of hinojosa and choy

In June, DHS Secretary Mayorkas and CBP leadership led a briefing on efforts to combat forced labor in U.S. supply chains. In recognition of DHS and CBP's efforts, the Partnership for Public Service awarded CBP's forced labor team the 2021 Service to America Medal (“Sammies”) for Safety, Security, and International Affairs. Back in August, CBP’s forced labor team was also awarded the 2021 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals People’s Choice Award.  Led by Executive Director Ana B. Hinojosa and Deputy Executive Director Eric Choy, CBP’s forced labor team is responsible for investigating goods suspected of being made with forced labor and preventing them from entering the United States.

In Fiscal Year 2021, CBP issued seven Withhold Release Orders and two forced labor findings to protect American consumers and businesses from goods made by forced labor.  Those orders have targeted cotton products and tomato products from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; silica-based products made by a company that operates in Xinjiang; palm oil from a Malaysian company; and tuna and other seafood harvested by a Chinese fishing fleet, a Taiwan-flagged fishing vessel, and a Fijian-flagged fishing vessel. On Sept. 10, 2021, CBP announced that it had modified the forced labor finding on Top Glove Corporation Bhd.  In October, CBP issued Withhold Release Orders on certain disposable gloves manufactured by Supermax Corporation Bhd. and its subsidiaries and on tomatoes produced by a farm in Mexico. In total, CBP has detained 1,213 shipments that contained approximately $414 million of goods suspected to be made by forced labor.1

1. As of August 31, 2021

Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Continues as Imports Increase

photo of counterfeit mask

The U.S. demand for imported goods continues to grow. In September 2021 alone, CBP processed more than 3 million entry summaries valued at more than $259 billion, identifying estimated duties of nearly $8.4 billion to be collected by the U.S. government. 

table depicting COVID-19 Related Seizures for FY 2020. Product: Counterfeit face masks, 352 incidents, 12.7 million items seized; Prohibited test kits: 378 incidents, 180,000 items seized;

Intellectual property rights violations continue to put America’s innovation economy at risk. Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, the livelihoods of American workers, and the health and safety of consumers. CBP protects the intellectual property rights of American businesses, safeguarding them from unfair competition and use for malicious intent while upholding American innovation and ingenuity. CBP works with many partner government agencies and the trade community to mitigate the risks posed by imports of such illicit goods. In September 2021, CBP seized 2,073 shipments that contained more than $375 million of counterfeit goods.

Strong partnerships and trade laws provide the critical framework required for the agency to confront the unique and unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. CBP continues to track a shift in certain product category seizures, including counterfeit, unapproved, or otherwise substandard COVID-19 related products that threatened the health and safety of American consumers.  In FY 2020, over half of the COVID-related seizures occurred in the express consignment environment and 24 percent were intercepted in international mail. Roughly 51 percent originated in China. In order to curb the sale of counterfeit or substandard COVID-19 sanitation products or safety equipment online, CBP also published the E-Commerce Consumer Awareness for COVID-19 Safety Guide

Stopping the Illegal Importation of Hydrofluorocarbons

unsplash free license, photo of sapling in a forest

On September 23, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new interagency task force that will guard against the illegal importation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).  HFCs are potent greenhouse gases with global warming potential that can be thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide.  A global phasedown of HFCs could meaningfully prevent the development of adverse global warming effects over the next century.  

The American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act), enacted in 2020, directs the EPA to address the adverse environmental effects of HFCs by, among other things, phasing down HFC production, consumption, and importation. Coinciding with the task force announcement, the EPA issued its first regulations to implement the AIM Act’s phasedown.  DHS, through CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, will work with the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance to stop illegal HFC imports into the United States, including by preventing the exploitation of U.S. customs laws.   

The launch of this joint initiative to enforce the phasedown of HFCs builds on DHS and the EPA’s long-standing, successful collaboration on preventing illegal imports that threaten the environment, including imports of ozone-depleting substances and vehicles that fail to comply with Clean Air Act standards.  

Enforcement News From Across CBP

CBP Seizes Fake Designer Handbags, Wallets Worth $314K

photo of counterfeit Gucci bag

Dallas, TX — CBP officers working at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport intercepted a shipment manifested as pencil bags but instead were packed with various designer bags totaling a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $314,000. The shipment originated in Vietnam and was destined for the Dallas area when CBP officers selected it for inspection. When officers opened the four boxes, they found 153 items bearing trademarked brands including Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Burberry and Fendi. Consumer Products and Mass Merchandise Center of Expertise and Excellence import specialists determined the various handbags and wallets were counterfeit and officers seized the shipment for IPR and trademark violations.

480 Pairs of Fake Chanel Earrings Seized en Route to Little Rock

counterfeit earrings

Memphis, TN — On September 21, CBP officers at the port of Memphis, TN selected for inspection a shipment from the United Arab Emirates en route to an apartment in Little Rock, Arkansas listed as “LADIES JEWELRY.” Inside the shipment officers found 480 pairs of earrings that had the recorded trademarks of Chanel. The earrings were identified as counterfeit based on the low value claimed, incorrect appearance, low-quality construction, and shoddy packaging method.  If these had been authentic, and sold for the manufacturers’ suggested retail price (MSRP), the value would have been $324,000.

Louisville CBP Continues to See and Seize Counterfeit Designer Watches

counterfeit watches

Louisville, KY — CBP officers assigned to the Port of Louisville seized 66 separate shipments containing 3,345 counterfeit designer watches worth $67.07 million, and the flow of counterfeit watches continue. On October 4 and 5, CBP officers made two seizures of 59 Rolex and three Audemars Piguet counterfeit designer watches. Had these watches been real, they would have been worth $2.68 million. The first shipment arrived from Hong Kong and was destined for a residence in Puerto Rico. The second shipment was arriving from Hong Kong and was heading to Miami. Officers inspected these parcels to determine if the goods were admissible in accordance with CBP regulations. The first shipment had 24 Rolex watches and 3 Audemars Piguet watches, while the second parcel contained 35 Rolex watches. The watches were determined to be counterfeit by CBP’s trade experts at the Centers of Excellence and Expertise. If they were real, the watches would have been valued at $987,000 and $1.69 million respectively.

Office of Congressional Affairs | October 2021


CBP Access | November 2021

CBP Access is an electronic newspage developed by the Office of Congressional Affairs for Members of Congress and staff. If you are interested in subscribing to the CBP Access email distribution list, please send an email to OCAInquiry@cbp.dhs.gov.

Message from the  Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner

CBP operations at the nation’s ports of entry are critical to ensure safe and efficient travel across our borders.  Before the COVID-19 global pandemic, CBP officers would process nearly a million travelers every day. As international travel begins to return to normal levels, CBP is prepared to welcome and facilitate travelers, while maintaining the highest standards of security. While travel had been restricted during the pandemic, CBP continued to make progress toward upgrading facilities, incorporating effective technology, and implementing innovative solutions to streamline processes for travelers, while also addressing the ever-evolving challenges and threats at and beyond our borders.

–Patrick Schmidt, Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner

Easing Travel Restrictions at our Land Borders

photograph of san ysidro port of entry
Vehicles line up at the San Ysidro Port of Entry 

As of Monday, November 8, 2021, new requirements went into effect for travelers entering the United States at land ports of entry and ferry terminals.  Non-citizen travelers are now permitted to enter the United States through a land border or ferry terminal for a non-essential reason (i.e., tourism), provided they are fully vaccinated and can present proof of COVID-19 vaccination status.  Unvaccinated travelers may continue to cross the border for essential travel, including lawful trade, emergency response, and public health purposes. This shift eases long-standing restrictions on non-essential travel, consistent with public health guidance. 

When arriving at a U.S. land POE or ferry terminal, non-citizen travelers should be prepared to (1) provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, as outlined on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website; and (2) verbally attest to their reason for travel and COVID-19 vaccination status during a border inspection.

Any non-citizen attempting to enter the United States through illegal means or without appropriate documentation may be subject to expulsion or removal. Travelers arriving at a U.S. land port of entry or ferry terminal should be prepared to present any other relevant documents as requested by a CBP officer. U.S. citizens are reminded to bring a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) document, such as a valid U.S. passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, Enhanced Driver’s License, or Enhanced Tribal Card, when re-entering the country. To learn more about the updated requirements for travelers, please review the Fact Sheet: Guidance for Travelers to Enter the U.S. at Land Ports of Entry and Ferry Terminals.

pedestrian crossing at San Ysidro port of entry
Pedestrian crossing at the San Ysidro Port of Entry

Individuals engaged in essential travel will not be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 at this time. Starting in January 2022, however, all inbound foreign national travelers seeking to enter the United States via land POEs or ferry terminals – whether for essential or non-essential reasons – must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination.

To help reduce wait times and long lines, travelers can take advantage of innovative technology, such as the CBP One™ mobile application, which allows travelers to apply for a provisional I-94 prior to arriving at a land border crossing, and Simplified Arrival, which process provides travelers with a secure, touchless travel experience.

CBP On the Hill: Modernizing our Land Ports of Entry

DEAC Diane Sabatino at a November 17 HSGAC subcommittee hearing
Office of Field Operations
Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner
Diane Sabatino

On Wednesday, November 17, 2021, CBP Office of Field Operations Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner (DEAC) Diane Sabatino testified before the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management for a hearing titled, “Federal Government Perspective: Improving Security, Trade, and Travel Flows at Southwest Border Ports of Entry.”

ready lanes at San Ysidro port of entry
CBP Ready Lanes  at a land port of entry along
t​​​​​he Southwest Border

During the hearing, DEAC Sabatino discussed the importance of CBP's role at our nation's land ports of entry and highlighted how the integration of advance technology into infrastructure and business processes, such as the expansion of CBP One, Simplified Arrival and non-intrusive inspection technology enables CBP to intercept high-risk travelers and other threats while also streamlining and expediting the flow of legitimate trade and travel. 

Other witnesses on the panel were Joe Jeronimo, Deputy Assistant Director, Transnational Organized Crime Division, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Stuart Burns, Assistant Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, Portfolio Management and Customer Engagement, General Services Administration. DEAC Sabatino's full written testimony can be found on CBP.gov and a recorded webcast of the hearing can be found on the Subcommittee’s Website.

CBP's Updated App Streamlines Travel to the United States

cbp one screen capture

As part of CBP’s comprehensive effort to improve the security of our nation’s borders while enhancing legitimate travel and trade, CBP One™ serves as a single point of entry for travelers and stakeholders to access CBP mobile applications and services. Through a series of intuitive questions, the app guides guide each user to the appropriate services based on their needs.

cbp one screen capture

CBP One™ began the rollout of its features in October 2020, starting with an Inspection Appointment request feature for brokers/carriers/forwarders and I-94 Entry for travelers. The Inspection Appointment request feature allows brokers/carriers/forwarders to request an inspection time for perishable cargo entering the U.S. Each request is assigned to a CBP agriculture specialist who oversees assigning inspection times and communicates with the requestor via an interactive chat feature if additional information is needed.

The I-94 Entry feature allows travelers to apply for a provisional I-94 prior to arriving at a land border crossing. Travelers who apply for their I-94 ahead of time will experience faster processing times to expedite entry. Travelers can also quickly access their current I-94 submission to view critical information such as, how long they can remain in the U.S., and use it for proof of visitor status once in the United States.

On November 22, 2021, CBP announced a new feature in the CBP One™ mobile application that will be able to better facilitate international travel into the United States. Beginning November 30, CBP’s agriculture specialists will be able to receive advanced notification of travelers who require inspection of agriculture and biological products upon arrival at an airport in the United States. Providing advance information and scheduling appointments may expedite travelers’ CBP clearance upon arrival. Categories for declaration will include:

  • Biological materials that may require permits issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Pets, specifically birds and dogs, accompanying travelers in various capacities that carry the potential of introducing foreign animal diseases to the U.S. or other public health concerns
  • Cleaning and disinfection of shoes
  • Hunting trophies

Moving the agriculture process to CBP One™ will give travelers more transparency throughout the request process, including real-time status updates by way of pushed notifications, which can also be sent to a group email. Travelers can also upload documents such as accompanying permits, certificates, or statements of non-infectiousness for CBP review prior to arrival.

The capability is available at the following airports: Boston Logan International Airport (BOS); Chicago O’Hare International (ORD); Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport (DFW); Ft. Lauderdale International Airport (FLL); Houston International Airport (IAH); JFK International Airport (JFK); Los Angeles International Airport (LAX); Miami International Airport (MIA); Washington Dulles International (IAD); Newark International Airport (EWR); San Francisco International Airport (SFO); and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

CBP.gov provides an overview of CBP One™ features and information on how to start using the app. The CBP One app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Simplified Arrival at Land Ports of Entry

A traveler uses Simplified Arrival at a pedestrian crossing
A CBP officer uses Simplified Arrival to process a 
traveler at a pedestrian border crossing.

With an increasingly complex threat posture in the land border environment, CBP continues to expand efforts to streamline traveler processing. Capturing biometrics, specifically using facial comparison technology, provides CBP an efficient and secure way to verify identity of persons entering and exiting the United States. 

CBP's Simplified Arrival process provides travelers with a secure, touchless travel experience while fulfilling a longstanding Congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens. This process uses biometric facial comparison technology to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States at nearly all airports, including preclearance locations.

Deployment of this capability to land ports of entry has been comparatively slower considering the additional geographical and operational challenges; however, CBP is working to implement biometric capabilities at all land ports of entry in the pedestrian, personal vehicle, and commercial vehicle environments. Currently, CBP’s biometric facial comparison technology is deployed to all pedestrian ports of entry along the Southwest Border, 21 ports of entry along the Northern Border, and 10 locations for closed-loop cruises. 

Biometric processing has proven an effective tool to combat the use of stolen and fraudulent travel and identity documents. Since the program’s inception in 2018, CBP officers at LPOEs have identified over 950 imposters attempting to enter the United States. 

In April 2021, the biometric functionality for processing commercial truck drivers and passengers at primary inspection was integrated into the new Truck Manifest Modernization cargo processing system. Furthermore, CBP began conducting a technical demonstration in September 2021 to test using facial biometric capture camera technology on vehicle travelers in vehicle primary lanes at Anzalduas, Texas.  

The biometric facial comparison process occurs only at a time and place where travelers are already required by law to verify their identity by presenting a travel document. When a traveler arrives at one of the pedestrian lanes or undergoes I-94 processing, he or she will pause for a photo at the primary inspection point. A CBP officer will review and query the travel document, which will retrieve the traveler’s passport or visa photo from government holdings and compare it to the new photo.

Photograph of a camera used in Simplified Arrival
A camera used during Simplified Arrival

This enhanced process using facial biometrics only takes a few seconds and is more than 98 percent accurate. In addition, foreign travelers who have traveled to the United States previously may no longer need to provide fingerprints, as their identity will be confirmed through the touchless facial biometric process.

CBP is committed to its privacy obligations and has taken steps to safeguard the privacy of all travelers. CBP has employed strong technical security safeguards and has limited the amount of personally identifiable information used in the facial biometric process. New photos of U.S. citizens will be deleted within 12 hours. Photos of most foreign nationals will be stored in a secure U.S. Department of Homeland Security system.

U.S. travelers and foreign nationals who are not required to provide biometrics and wish to opt out of the new biometric process may notify a CBP officer as they approach the primary inspection point. These travelers will be required to present a valid travel document for inspection by a CBP officer and will be processed consistent with existing requirements for admission into the United States.

Simplified Arrival pairs one of the industry’s highest ranked facial comparison algorithms (as assessed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology) with trained CBP officers who are skilled at verifying the authenticity of travel documents. If a traveler cannot be matched to a photo on record using the Simplified Arrival process, the traveler will proceed through the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for admission into the United States.

To date, more than 70 million travelers have participated in the CBP biometric facial comparison process at air, land, and seaports of entry. 

U.S. NEXUS/FAST Enrollment Centers to Re-Open November 29

NEXUS and FAST logos

CBP recently announced that the NEXUS and U.S./Canada FAST enrollment centers in the United States will reopen on November 29, 2021. It should be noted, however, that the NEXUS and FAST enrollment centers in Canada will continue to be closed until further notice.

NEXUS is a program run jointly between CBP and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). It is designed to speed up border crossings for low-risk, pre-approved travelers into Canada and the United States.  FAST is a joint program between the CBSA and CBP that enhances border and trade security while making cross-border commercial shipments simpler and subject to fewer delays.

Conditionally approved applicants may schedule interviews at available NEXUS and U.S./Canada FAST enrollment centers in the United States.  Appointments must be booked through the Trusted Traveler portal: https://ttp.dhs.gov and will have dates available starting November 29.  Applicants entering the U.S. to complete their interview must meet all applicable travel requirements.

CBP asks all applicants to be patient with the system as there is large backlog of applications to be processed by a limited number of open enrollment centers. In order to prioritize new applicants needing interviews, CBP is asking existing NEXUS and FAST members to refrain from booking an appointment at this time. However, existing members are encouraged to renew their membership before their expiry date on their cards to maintain their membership privileges until able to complete their interviews at a later time.

New applicants can apply for membership at https://ttp.dhs.gov. The non-refundable application fee for a five-year FAST membership is $50 and applications must be submitted online. Once the applicant successfully passes a background check, a CBP officer will conduct an interview with the applicant at select locations in the United States to make a final eligibility determination.

Enforcement News From Across CBP

CBP Intercepts 47 Live Roosters at Laredo Port of Entry

photo of seized roosters

Laredo, TX — CBP officers and agriculture specialists at the Laredo Port of Entry recently intercepted a large clutch of live poultry hidden throughout a vehicle.  The incident happened on the evening of November 12th, when a United States citizen made entry via the SENTRI lane and was referred for inspection by CBP officers.  At secondary, CBP officers discovered live poultry in stockings under the front seats.  Because of the nature of the findings, CBP agriculture specialists were called in to assist with the inspection. CBP personnel encountered more live poultry inside the purse of the passenger. In all, 47 live birds were found concealed underneath the seats, floor mats, inside the glove compartment and trunk of the vehicle.

CBP Officers Seize $137K in Cocaine

photograph of seized cocaine

Brownsville, TX — CBP officers at the Veterans International Bridge recently intercepted a load of alleged cocaine, hidden within a 2013 Nissan. The seizure took place on November 17 at Veterans International Bridge when a 21-year-old female U.S. citizen who resides in Brownsville, attempted entry into the United States. The vehicle was referred to CBP secondary for further examination after a primary inspection.  While in the secondary inspection area, with the aid of a canine unit, CBP officers discovered six packages hidden within the vehicle.  CBP officers removed the packages which contained a total of 17.76 pounds of alleged cocaine. The estimated street value of the cocaine from the seizure is $137,020. CBP officers seized the narcotics along with the vehicle, arrested the driver and turned her over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.

CBP Officers Arrest Fugitive Sought for Trafficking Children

photograph of OFO badge

El Paso, TX — CBP officers working at the Presidio port of entry arrested a 45-year-old U.S. citizen female who had an arrest warrant for trafficking children for sexual purposes. The apprehension occurred at approximately 6 a.m. on November 13 when CBP officers encountered a 2014 Mazda arriving from Mexico with four passengers. While conducting primary inspections on the vehicle and its occupants, a CBP officer identified the driver as having an outstanding warrant. CBP officers took the woman into custody and confirmed the warrant out of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. The Presidio Police Department took custody of the suspect. 

Office of Congressional Affairs | November 2021


CBP Access | December 2021

CBP Access is an electronic newspage developed by the Office of Congressional Affairs for Members of Congress and staff. If you are interested in subscribing to the CBP Access email distribution list, please send an email to OCAInquiry@cbp.dhs.gov.

Message from the Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner

Counterfeit goods pose real dangers to consumer health and safety and jeopardize the U.S. economy by eroding the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers and workers. In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP personnel nationwide seized 26,503 shipments containing counterfeit goods estimated to be worth nearly $1.3 billion had they been genuine. As the volume of e-commerce purchasing increases as we approach the holidays, CBP continues to emphasize the enforcement of intellectual property rights and the importance of strong partnerships – with other agencies, businesses, and consumers – to share information, raise awareness of risks, and provide guidance on how we can work together to ensure the gifts and products that enter our homes are safe and authentic.

–Patrick Schmidt, Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner

access banner

CBP Offers Holiday Shopping Tips to Help Consumers Spot Potential Fake or Dangerous Products 

The dangers of buying counterfeit products aren't always obvious. There are economic impacts, legal implications, and health and safety risks that are important for you to know before you buy. Particularly, when shopping online, beware of counterfeit goods. Fake goods can lead to real dangers. To help keep consumers safe this holiday season, CBP offers these eight shopping tips:

  1. If it seems like a steal, it probably is. If you're getting a "too good to be true" price on a product, it may be counterfeit goods. Compare prices on multiple websites to ensure you're getting the real deal.
  2. Read online seller reviews. Online reviews and product images from consumers can indicate product quality and authenticity.
  3. Familiarize yourself with online purchase return policies. The lack of return policy on a website, or a less than reasonable return policy, could indicate the seller is selling counterfeit goods.
  4. Pause your purchase if redirected to another site to pay. Websites that sell counterfeit goods can steal your personal info, like credit card numbers and address, to use for illicit purposes. 
  5. Look out for suspicious ads. Clicking on suspicious website ads can lead you to websites and vendors that sell fake products.
  6. Make sure you can contact the online seller. If a website does not have proper contact information or phone numbers that work, this could be a sign that the website is illegitimate and sells counterfeit goods.
  7. Look at and read all labels. Inspect labels for expiration dates, safety seals, and worn or rubbed off labels. Labels can indicate counterfeit products that may put you or your loved ones in danger or make people sick.
  8. Report fake Products. CBP’s e-Allegations program helps consumers report suspected trade violations. It helps to protect consumers from products that could pose a threat to health and safety. Consumers can find more information at www.cbp.gov/fakegoodsrealdangers and report suspected counterfeits via CBP’s e-Allegations Online Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.

Find these tips and more on @CBP and learn about how everyone can help keep the market free of fakes by being smart and savvy consumers.

Internet Purchases from Foreign Sources

photo graphic of individual typing on keyboard

The Internet has made it easy to find and purchase items from almost anywhere in the world. However, many consumers are discovering that getting a item successfully delivered to the United States from a foreign country is much more complicated. There are specific rules and regulations that govern the act of importing and they can be extremely complex and confusing - and costly.

When you buy goods from foreign sources, you become the importer. And, as the importer, you are responsible for ensuring that the goods comply with a variety of both state and federal government import regulations. Importing goods that are counterfeit, unsafe, that fail to meet health code requirements, or that violate quota restrictions could end up costing you quite a bit of money in fines and penalties. At the very least, such goods would be detained, and possibly destroyed, by CBP.

Knowing what is admissible is just part of the story. The other part is knowing how to import. Depending upon what you are importing and its value, the procedures can be very complicated. Before buying something from a foreign source, learn about your responsibilities and liabilities and read CBP's E-Commerce Counterfeit Awareness Guides that were developed to help consumers and importers understand the risk and consequences associated with counterfeit goods purchased through the internet.  

CBP and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Partner to Combat Counterfeit Goods

Counterfeit goods are a problem all year long, but the increased demand for gifts and other necessities means that the holiday season provides more opportunity for those looking to make a profit by selling fake products to unsuspecting consumers. 

CBP and Chamber signing

Earlier this year, CBP and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced a joint initiative to establish a public-private collaboration and strengthen efforts to stop the importation of counterfeit and pirated goods into the United States.

In a memorandum of understanding, CBP and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce express their intent to enhance the exchange of information concerning known or suspected intellectual property rights violations. The partners also intend to conduct joint training and outreach events and to improve business and consumer awareness of dangers of counterfeit goods, the responsibilities and risks that come with importing goods, and how to avoid falling for scams.

As a continuation of this partnership, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and CBP are raising awareness this holiday shopping season through the ‘Shop Smart’ campaign to educate businesses and consumers about the dangers of counterfeit goods and encouraging consumers to “unbox real happiness” instead. 

Trademark and Copyright Owners Can Help CBP Protect Intellectual Property Rights

CBP has the authority to detain, seize, forfeit, and ultimately destroy merchandise seeking entry into the United States if it bears an infringing trademark or copyright that has been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or the U.S. Copyright Office, and has subsequently been recorded with CBP.  In addition to CBP regulations, 19 C.F.R. Part 133, CBP has issued two publications, CBP Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights and How to work with CBP to Protect your Intellectual Property, that explain in detail how intellectual property right (IPR) owners can partner with CBP to ensure their trademarks and copyrights are enforced at all U.S. Ports of Entry. 

IPR owners can record trademarks and copyrights with CBP through the e-Recordation system and provide contact information for questions or concerns. Counterfeit and pirated goods are becoming much more sophisticated, which means that it is also becoming much more difficult to distinguish legitimate goods from fakes. CBP reaches out to rights owners for assistance in making infringement determinations. Recordation owners can also educate CBP on their products and brand by creating a product identification guide and providing webinars and in-person trainings for CBP personnel working in the field or in one of the Centers of Excellence and Expertise.

One of CBP’s most important collaborative partnerships is with the trade community. Enforcing intellectual property rights is a complex process and partnering with rights owners and industry organizations is critical to CBP’s success. 

Technology and Authenticating Imported Merchandise

international mail at jfk

CBP's partnerships with all trade stakeholders, including manufactures, businesses, government partners, and consumers, are vital to its enforcement mission and continued success in protecting U.S. businesses and consumers from counterfeit goods.

A recent formal partnership arrangement with NIKE, Inc. as part of the Donations Acceptance Program is one example of how CBP collaborates with manufacturers to protect intellectual property rights.  Under its partnership with CBP, NIKE, Inc. is donating proprietary technology to aid CBP in authenticating a variety of NIKE, Inc. merchandise and preventing counterfeit products from entering the United States.  CBP and NIKE, Inc. will test the tool at a limited number of international mail and express consignment facilities. 

The Donations Acceptance Program enables CBP to accept tools and technology and work in partnership with private entities to enforce intellectual property rights and keep counterfeit products out of the United States.

Report Trade Violations to CBP and its Partners

Information is a powerful tool for the fight against fakes. The public can help CBP and its partners identify and investigate trade violations, including those involving counterfeit products, by submitting suspicious activity to the CBP e-Allegations Online Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT. The e-Allegations program provides a means for the public to report to CBP any suspected violations of trade laws or regulations related to the importation of goods into the United States within five basic categories of trade violations: forced labor, revenue evasion, merchandise violations, shipping violations, and miscellaneous trade violations.  The public can also contact the National IPR Coordination Center for additional enforcement opportunities concerning reported violations. 

Information submitted to CBP through e-Allegations is disseminated to the appropriate agency, office, or port of entry for investigation. This important information-sharing tool improves CBP’s enforcement of intellectual property rights at the border.

Enforcement News From Across CBP

Attention Holiday Shoppers: CBP Recently Seized Over $30 Million Worth of Fake Designer Products

photo of seized counterfeit products

Los Angeles, CA — CBP officers assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport in coordination with Import Specialists from the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Center of Excellence and Expertise recently intercepted 13,586 counterfeit designer products arriving in a containerized cargo shipment from China. CBP officers discovered handbags, tote bags, shoulder bags, crossbody bags, backpacks, shirts, and pants bearing numerous registered and recorded trademarks, such as Gucci, Chanel, Fendi, YSL and Louis Vuitton. CBP officers, in cooperation with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents seized the shipment on November 9, 2021. If genuine, the seized merchandise would have a combined estimated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $30,437,775.

CBP Seizes 41 Counterfeit Ivermectin Pills and Vaccine Cards 

photo of seized ivermectin

Chicago, IL — CBP officers working at the International Mail Facility at Chicago O'Hare are still seizing counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards and the antiparasitic that has caused a lot of controversy, Ivermectin. On October 4, CBP seized two shipments that were destined for residence in Seagraves and Houston, Texas. CBP inspected the parcels to determine the admissibility of the items in accordance with agency procedures. One package was manifested that it contained PVC sleeves while the other package was labeled as greeting cards. Upon inspecting the parcels, CBP officers found 21 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards in one package and 20 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards in the other. The cards closely resembled the authentic Center for Disease Control (CDC) certificates provided by healthcare practitioners when administering the COVID vaccine. The cards appeared to be fraudulent due to their low quality appearance and other discrepancies. Both shipments originated from China. 

CBP Seizes over $479,000 Worth of Illegal Contact Lenses

photograph of counterfeit contact lenses

Cincinnati, OH — In late October, CBP officers, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigation special agents and FDA consumer safety officers conducted a special operation focused on misbranded contact lenses to identify and intercept illegal contact lenses being imported into the United States. Contact lenses are regulated commodities in the United States. These misbranded lenses violate FDA laws and could prove dangerous or ineffective.  CBP and FDA Officers found a total of 26,477 pairs of undeclared or misdeclared decorative contact lenses. The prohibited contact lenses originated primarily from Hong Kong and Japan and were destined to addresses across the entire United States. The cumulative Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for the prohibited lenses were $479,082 had they been legally imported.

Office of Congressional Affairs | December 2021


CBP Access | February 2022

CBP Access is an electronic newspage developed by the Office of Congressional Affairs for Members of Congress and staff. If you are interested in subscribing to the CBP Access email distribution list, please send an email to OCAInquiry@cbp.dhs.gov.

February 2022 | In this Update

Message from the Deputy Assistant Commissioner

CBP may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about high-profile events like the Super Bowl or traditional holidays like Valentine's Day, but this past month, CBP played a central — albeit behind-the-scenes — role in both events, working hard to protect the American public and keep American industry and business thriving. Highly skilled Air and Marine Operations crews, teams of CBP officers, import specialists, and Border Patrol search, rescue, medical, and tactical units worked alongside our local and federal law  enforcement partners as part of the coordinated security efforts for Super Bowl LVI. Preparation for national security events begin months in advance and involve everything from on-site security of people and products, to targeting human traffickers and seizing counterfeit merchandise. When it comes to Valentine's Day, and other holidays such as Easter and Mother's Day, CBP's agriculture specialists across the United States work tirelessly inspecting cut flower shipments. CBP agriculture specialists topped 1 billion inspected flowers for the third straight year as they made sure imported Valentine’s Day flowers were free from insects, pests and diseases that could harm the agricultural and floral industries of the United States.  

Stephanie Talton, Deputy Assistant Commissioner

CBP Provides Critical Security Support for Super Bowl LVI 

amo helicopters fly at LVI SoFi stadium
An AMO UH-60 Black Hawk and an AS350 A-Star pass by
SoFi Stadium

As millions of viewers tuned in to watch Super Bowl LVI on February 13, a dedicated team of highly trained personnel from the three uniformed components of CBP was on its game to make sure that the Super Bowl — one of the nation's biggest events of the year — was safe and secure for all.

Although providing a range of security measures for the Super Bowl is not new for CBP, and although CBP already has a strong presence in Southern California, every new venue means months of planning and preparation with fellow federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

amo agents patrol the waterways
AMO agents patrol the waterways in
T​​​​​​ampa, Florida, in advance of
Super Bowl LV in 2021.

Each component of CBP — primarily Air and Marine Operations (AMO), who secure the border from the air and sea; the Office of Field Operations (OFO), who enforce a myriad of laws at international airports and ports of entry; and the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP), who work between the nation’s ports of entry — brings unique skills to the table.

Protection from the Air and Sea - AMO brought in aircrews, helicopters, and airplanes equipped with radar and cameras to help keep an eye on activities from above and maintain a “no-fly zone.” AMO boats and crews on the water also helped secure the waterways. In addition to these assets, AMO provided a secure tactical communications system that connected state, local and federal law enforcement. All information was shared with the command centers in Southern California as well as CBP headquarters back in Washington, D.C.

Ground Security - OFO checked each vehicle coming into the stadium area — everything from trucks hauling food and beverages, to the van that delivered the Super Bowl trophy just before the game. CBP officers used three large, portable X-ray trucks, known as Vehicle and Cargo Inspection Systems, to see inside and clear the vehicles for entry in just a matter of minutes or alert CBP officers to anomalies that need further scrutiny. 

ofo nonintrusive inspection
CBP officers scan all vehicles and shipments
entering the stadium area in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2019

Beyond the stadium, CBP officers performed other security measures related to the Super Bowl event. CBP officers are trained to recognize suspect human trafficking — a modern form of slavery that includes everything from sweat shops to prostitution. OFO inspected travelers coming into Los Angeles by air to identify suspected individuals, handlers, and organizations trying to capitalize on that type of business in this area.

counterfeit NFL gear seized at LA/Long Beach
Counterfeit NFL team apparel items seized at the
Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport

Another important aspect of CBP’s efforts is the protection of trademarks — or intellectual property rights — to ensure Americans aren’t buying counterfeit merchandise such as fake NFL jerseys and championship rings. Trained import specialists look at the smallest details, down to the stitching on a single shirt, to determine whether it is real or fake. This important activity keeps proceeds from these sales out of the hands of criminal organizations that oftentimes use profits to fund other nefarious activities such as the illicit drug trade or terrorism. These inspections don’t just happen in the run-up to the Super Bowl; specialists inspect all sorts of items year-round and seize approximately $9 million worth of products with intellectual property rights violations every day.

Coordination and Special Teams - A central emergency operations center coordinated all the information coming in from the CBP helicopters, boat crews, community relations people, X-ray truck operators, intellectual property rights specialists, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agents. With a venue of this size, it’s imperative to have a unified hub for gathering and distributing information and coordinating activities. 

usbp special teams training
Border Patrol agents train for a multitude of
scenarios and were ready to respond at a moment’s
notice at this year’s Super Bowl.

USBP provided the special operations capabilities of a Border Patrol Tactical Unit and a Border Search, Trauma, and Rescue team. These units worked to secure the SoFi stadium campus, while standing ready to board an AMO helicopter at a moment’s notice and respond to any situation.

An especially challenging element during preparations and game day operations was the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease has sickened more than 74 million people in the United States, including infecting more than 21,600 CBP employees and killing 64. Special care was taken to protect CBP employees and the public as much as possible from the virus.

Further information on CBP's Super Bowl LVI Security Mission Overview, how CBP Intercepts Counterfeit NFL Mementos, and NFL Intellectual Property Rights, is available on CBP.gov.

CBP Works to Ensure Valentine’s Day Flowers Are Pest-Free 

flower inspection at iad
A CBP agriculture specialist inspects a bouquet 
of roses for insects and pests.

In the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, CBP agriculture specialists across the United States were especially busy tapping and shaking cut flower shipments. Traditionally, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and the Easter holiday weekends are the busiest times of the year for CBP agriculture specialists - the last line in the fight against the introduction of insects, pests, and agricultural diseases into the United States.

As of February 8, CBP agriculture specialists inspected more than 1.1 billion cut flowers in 482,754 shipments, intercepting 1,770 insects and pests. Of the 58 countries that import flowers to the United States, Colombia still topped the list at more than 738 million, most going to Miami International Airport. The most popular flowers remain roses, mixed bouquets, and chrysanthemums.

While it is not illegal to import flowers from other countries, certain flowers and plant materials commonly found in floral arrangements are restricted because they may carry plant pests and diseases that can cause damage to U.S. agriculture. A single pest could cause millions of dollars of damage to the nation’s crops.

CBP recommends that people who wish to import flowers, plant materials, and other agricultural items consult the CBP website or call (877) 227-5511. Travelers should also declare all items acquired abroad to CBP officers to avoid civil or criminal penalties and reduce the risk of introducing pest and disease to the United States.  Additionally, CBP now offers the CBP One mobile app, which allows travelers to request a variety of CBP services, including inspection of agricultural products. 

live giant african snails
Live Giant Land Snails discovered in a
passenger's luggage

CBP Lists Top 10 Agriculture Seizures of 2021 

Millions of pounds of fresh fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, herbs, and other items enter the United States via commercial shipments from other countries every year. Although these items appear to be harmless, there could be hidden threats in that baggage and in those truckloads, trainloads and containers of fresh items that could seriously threaten U.S. agriculture, our natural resources and our economy. CBP agriculture specialists and CBP officers at U.S. ports of entry and international mail facilities target, detect, intercept, and thereby prevent the entry of these potential threats before they have a chance to do any harm.

Each year, CBP agriculture specialists intercept tens of thousands of “actionable pests” – those identified through scientific risk assessment and study as being dangerous to the health and safety of U.S. agricultural resources.

In Fiscal Year 2021 alone, CBP issued 73,917 emergency action notifications for restricted and prohibited plant and animal products entering the United States, conducted 630,150 positive passenger inspections, and issued 7,190 civil penalties and/or violations to the traveling public for failing to declare prohibited agriculture items. These discoveries can range from the ordinary to the outrageous.

invasive pest on container
Photograph of Saunders 1850

CBP recently published its Top 10 agricultural finds of 2021 from throughout the United States:

  1. In February, CBP officers at the commercial facility at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry seized more than 12,000 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $27 million found commingled within a shipment of papayas. 
  2. In April, CBP agriculture specialists at the port of Memphis, TN inspected a shipment from China en route to New York City manifested as “The Scarf” and found that the shipment actually contained 750 unfertilized avian eggs
  3. CBP agriculture specialists working at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston intercepted 15 live giant land snails from a passenger’s luggage in early July. 
  4. In August, CBP agriculture specialists assigned to the Boston Logan International Airport encountered a 35-year-old female arriving from Santiago, Dominican Republic. During a baggage examination, 11 kilograms of pork sausages were discovered. 
  5. CBP agriculture specialists assigned to the Paso Del Norte Border Crossing seized 320 pounds of pork bologna and 30 pounds of turkey ham in August. 
  6. In September, a traveler arriving from Japan reluctantly declared he was in possession of Botulinum and E. coli DNA plasmids intended for research. An inspection conducted by CBP agriculture specialists revealed 27 vials of the biological material. 
  7. Also in September, CBP agriculture specialists at the Port of Gulfport discovered a butterfly larvae pest, informally known as the Saunders 1850, while inspecting a shipment container of pineapples from Costa Rica. 
  8. In October, CBP’s agriculture team in Minneapolis discovered six large bags containing clothing, two primate arms, dry fish, cooked snails, plant material, cow skin, bushmeat and eru plant material. 
  9. CBP officers at the Laredo Port of Entry intercepted a large clutch of live poultry hidden throughout a vehicle back in November.
  10. In December, CBP agriculture specialists in Newark encountered a shipment of fresh peppers from Guatemala with a fraudulent phytosanitary certificate

Whether it is the prevention of an introduced foreign animal disease, an invasive plant pest, or unknown biological material, CBP's agriculture specialists and our agriculture canine teams are steadfast in their determination to keep America’s agriculture and natural resources safe. Learn more about CBP's agriculture inspection and security mission on CBP.gov.

CBP Alerts the Public to Ongoing Phone Scams

phone scam image

CBP is alerting the public to numerous telephone scams that have been targeting residents nationwide. CBP is aware of reports of individuals receiving unsolicited calls from scammers posing as U.S. Border Patrol agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Residents are reporting calls with a pre-recorded message stating, “a box of drugs and money being shipped has your name on it and has been intercepted.” Others are reporting calls from individuals claiming to be CBP employees and informing call recipients that there is a warrant for their arrest or requesting information in exchange for Bitcoin. In either case, the resident is instructed to provide banking information or other personal identifiable information, such as social security numbers or dates of birth.

These calls are phone scams/phishing attempts and have been circulating for the past few years. Residents are urged to not provide the caller with any information. The Department of Homeland Security and CBP do not solicit money over the phone, nor do they use Bitcoin, other digital currency, or gift cards. If such calls are received, people should make a note of the number and any other pertinent details about the call and immediately hang up, and then report the incident to a local police department and the Federal Trade Commissioner at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/. If you would still like to talk to someone from CBP, please contact the CBP Information Center at (877) 227-5511.

Enforcement News From Across CBP

CBP Officers Seize over $18 Million in Methamphetamine

photo of boxes of seized meth

Pharr, TX — On February 15, 2022, CBP officers assigned to the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility encountered a commercial tractor trailer arriving from Mexico. A CBP officer referred the conveyance for further inspection, which included utilizing non-intrusive imaging (NII) equipment and screening by a canine team. After physically inspecting the conveyance, officers extracted 1,348.83 pounds (611.82 kg) of alleged methamphetamine concealed within the trailer. CBP OFO seized the narcotics and tractor trailer, and the case remain under investigation by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI).

 Border Patrol Apprehends Four Mara-Salvatrucha Gang Members in the Rio Grande Valley Sector

USBP patch

Edinburg, TX — Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector Border Patrol agents recently arrested four Salvadoran gang members. On February 15, McAllen Border Patrol Station agents arrested a Salvadoran national near Hidalgo, whose record checks revealed he is a Mara-Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang member.  In 2020, the man was sentenced to five months incarceration and one year of supervised release in Baltimore, Maryland, for an immigration violation. He was subsequently removed from the United States. That afternoon, processing agents discovered another Salvadoran national whose record checks revealed he is an MS-13 gang member with no previous arrests in the United States. Then on February 16, processing agents encountered two Salvadoran nationals whose record checks revealed they are MS-13 gang members. The two individuals have numerous removals from the United States. 

CBP Officers Seize Massive Meth and Fentanyl Load in Arizona

photograph of seized ketamine

Tucson, AZ — On February 13, CBP officers at the Port of Lukeville arrested a Phoenix man and seized nearly 880 pounds of methamphetamine and more than 110 pounds of suspected fentanyl. That morning, officers referred a 47-year-old Phoenix man for additional inspection of his 2008 Roadmaster RV as he attempted to enter the United States.  Following a positive alert by a CBP narcotics detection canine to a scent it is trained to detect, the search led to the discovery of 129 packages of drugs hidden within the roof mounted A/C unit. The drugs were determined to be a combination of methamphetamine and fentanyl worth nearly $4.4 million dollars. Officers seized the drugs and vehicle, while the subject was arrested and then turned over to ICE-HSI.

Office of Congressional Affairs | February 2022


CBP Access | January 2022

CBP Access is an electronic newspage developed by the Office of Congressional Affairs for Members of Congress and staff. If you are interested in subscribing to the CBP Access email distribution list, please send an email to OCAInquiry@cbp.dhs.gov.

Message from CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus

Photograph of CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus

It is a deep honor to assume the post of CBP Commissioner and lead one of the Nation’s premier federal law enforcement agencies. While in some respects CBP is a young agency – created in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – its legacy agencies have historic roots leading back to our Nation’s earliest origins. CBP is a proud agency with a mission that is simply vital to the security, safety, and economic well-being of this great country, and I am proud to lead such a critical organization and serve alongside those who are also dedicated to this important mission.

Over the course of my 40-year career in law enforcement I have always prioritized building relationships with the communities we serve, partnering with others to advance and expand efforts, implementing evidence-based best practices, promoting reform, and insisting on accountability and transparency.  I will maintain these priorities as CBP Commissioner and believe that by working closely with Congress, the men and women who serve CBP, and its government-, public-, and private-sector partners, that we can build upon the Agency’s proven capabilities and strengths. Together we can implement effective solutions and take action to address our most pressing issues, including the interception of dangerous opioids such as fentanyl, identifying and prohibiting forced labor and counterfeit products in our supply chains, and addressing unauthorized migration. It is also my priority to ensure the well-being of the CBP workforce, especially in these pandemic times.

Soon after my confirmation CBP released Fiscal Year 2021 agency statistics for all major operational activities, including international travel and trade, forced labor enforcement, drug seizures, and border encounters.  For me, statistics like these are not only important for agency transparency, but also to illustrate the vast scope of CBP's mission, activities, and responsibilities and highlight the remarkable successes of CBP's dedicated personnel during a year filled with numerous and unprecedented challenges. I look forward to working with Congress to support and build on these accomplishments this coming year and beyond.

–Chris Magnus, Commissioner

CBP Releases Fiscal Year 2021 Operational Statistics Official CBP seal

CBP’s broad and complex mission is not only vital to the security and safety of our country, but also integral to the recovery and growth of our economy.  On January 3, 2022, CBP released agency statistics for Fiscal Year 2021 covering all major areas of operations, including international travel and trade, forced labor enforcement, drug seizures, and national border encounter statistics. 

These latest statistics demonstrate that, in a year of numerous challenges, CBP’s dedicated personnel continued to protect our country by stopping dangerous people, products, and drugs from entering the United States, while facilitating the lawful movement of travelers and commerce across our borders.

At and in between our nation’s ports of entry, CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, and Air and Marine Operations agents continued to interdict illicit drugs at the border. Compared to last fiscal year, cocaine seizures increased 68%; methamphetamine seizures increased 7%; heroin seizures decreased 6%; and fentanyl seizures increased 134%. CBP continued to invest in forward operating laboratories that enable CBP scientists to analyze suspected substances on-site at ports of entry, allowing CBP and its partner law enforcement agencies to quickly make seizures or start investigations.  

While CBP’s trade and travel numbers have not entirely returned to pre-pandemic levels, both traveler and conveyance volumes have increased significantly in recent months. For example, CBP processed more than three times as many international air travelers during the spring and summer of 2021 compared to the same period the year before.

CBP also ensured that legitimate trade continued to flow across our border. In FY 2021, CBP processed approximately $2.8 trillion of imports and collected approximately $93.8 billion in duties, taxes, and other fees on behalf of the U.S. government. CBP works closely with the trade community to strengthen international supply chains, enforce trade laws, and improve border security. This past fiscal year, CBP seized more than 83,000 shipments for trade violations, including counterfeit and pirated goods and goods made by forced labor.

CBP faced significant nationwide challenges at the border in FY 2021, grappling with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic – which deeply affected the health and well-being of its workforce – while confronting a high number of Southwest Border encounters (and repeat encounters) and changing migrant demographics. In FY 2021, CBP recorded a total of 1.72 million enforcement encounters along the Southwest Border, including 146,054 encounters of unaccompanied children, 478,492 encounters of individuals in family units, and 1,098,500 encounters of single adults.  The majority of all encounters were processed in accordance with orders from the CDC under its Title 42 public health authority to limit the spread of COVID-19. The number of total encounters overstates the number of unique individuals attempting to cross the border. Since CBP began expelling noncitizens under the CDC’s Title 42 public health order, the repeat encounter rate jumped to more than one in three encounters, including almost half of single adult encounters.  

Screen capture of one of CBP's data dashboards
Example of one of CBP.gov's data dashboards.
This one displays Intellectual Property Rights
S​​​​​​eizures by Fiscal Year.

Attempting to cross the border between the ports of entry is tremendously dangerous. Since the start of FY 2021, CBP officers and agents have rescued more than 13,200 individuals in a wide variety of circumstances. CBP officers and agents continue to stand ready to provide lifesaving assistance to all who need it.

The statistics provided above are merely a sampling of the fiscal year data available. Please read the National Media Release on CBP’s Operational Statistics for FY 2021 and explore all of CBP’s available agency data on CBP.gov.

CBP Data Dashboards

CBP continues to increase data transparency and availability by publishing dynamic data dashboards that gather multiple historical and current data sources into a single interface and allow users to filter, sort, and visualize CBP’s wide range of operational figures. CBP currently has dynamic data dashboards for: 

CBP will continue to publish additional data sets and dashboards as part of our commitment to strengthen public trust, and to increase public awareness and understanding of CBP operations.

How CBP Scientists Help Stem the Flow of Dangerous Drugs at the Border

Photo of CBP laboratory scientist working with a CBP officer to identify suspect substancesOn a typical day, CBP seizes approximately 5,000 pounds of illegal drugs that would otherwise make their way into American communities. Marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine remain top-seized drugs, but shifting trends over recent years have produced significant increases in other drugs like fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combination product, often unbeknownst to the user, to increase its euphoric effects – which often results in overdose deaths.

Compared to cocaine or methamphetamine, CBP seizures of fentanyl are relatively low. However, these seizures have increased dramatically in recent years.  In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized approximately 4,700 pounds of fentanyl; last fiscal year, CBP seized more than 11,200 pounds. 

Most of the fentanyl enters the United States through ports of entry along our southwest border.  It’s brought in by privately owned vehicles, commercial vehicles, and even pedestrians. Although less frequent, fentanyl also enters through international mail packages and express consignment environments. 

CBP has a multi-layered enforcement strategy to combat the cross-border movement of illegal drugs, involving partnerships, laboratory capabilities, technology, canines, and highly trained officers.

A recent article in Frontline, CBP’s official magazine, describes the shifting trends in the type of drugs smuggled and methods of smuggling, and how critical timing is when it comes to stopping the flow of illicit drugs from entering the United States.

For the past three years, CBP has been increasing its ability to swiftly identify suspected drugs by locating agency laboratory scientists on-site at U.S. ports of entry. What started as a special operation to target and stem the flow of fentanyl and other narcotics has proven to be not only an effective and valuable part of CBP’s ability to identify and seize illegal substances, but also a critical tool for partner agencies such as Homeland Security Investigations to make law enforcement-controlled deliveries that could potentially lead to arrests and shutdown dealers and their networks. 

The on-site labs provide multiple benefits including helping CBP identify trends. For example, starting in October 2020, the forward operating labs began seeing an increased amount of N,N-dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, a hallucinogenic drug smuggled across the border. Another trend that the forward operating labs recently discovered is a new fentanyl analogue coming across the Southwest border. Many of CBP’s forward operating labs are along the Southwest border, but also in locations such as Chicago, Miami, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Puerto Rico.

Read more about how CBP scientists are working side-by-side with front line officers to stem the flow of dangerous drugs and keep America safe in Crisis Control: How CBP's Scientists are Stemming the Flow of Opioids and Other Dangerous Drugs at the Border.

CBP Detains Imports for Suspected Forced Labor 

photo of disposable gloves in health settingEffective December 20, 2021, CBP personnel at all U.S. ports of entry will detain disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Brightway Holdings Sdn Bhd, Laglove (M) Sdn Bhd, and Biopro (M) Sdn Bhd (collectively, Brightway Group). 

CBP issued a Withhold Release Order against Brightway Group based on information that reasonably indicates the use of forced labor in that entity’s manufacturing operations. CBP identified 10 of the 11 International Labour Organization’s indicators of forced labor during its investigation.

“Forced Labor is a human rights abuse inflicted upon 25 million people worldwide,” said Chris Magnus, CBP Commissioner. “CBP will not allow goods tainted with forced labor to make their way into American households and businesses.” 

Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise produced, wholly or in part, by convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor, including forced or indentured child labor. CBP detains shipments of goods suspected of being imported in violation of this statute. Importers of detained shipments can export their shipments or demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor. 

CBP continues to aggressively investigate and prevent goods made by forced labor from entering U.S. commerce.  CBP issued seven Withhold Release Orders in Fiscal Year 2021 to protect American consumers and businesses from goods made by forced labor.  Those orders have targeted cotton products and tomato products from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; silica-based products made by a company that operates in Xinjiang; palm oil from a Malaysian company; and tuna and other seafood harvested by a Chinese fishing fleet, a Taiwan-flagged fishing vessel, and a Fijian-flagged fishing vessel. In FY2021, CBP detained 1,469 shipments that contained approximately $486 million of goods suspected to be made by forced labor.

Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being, or likely to be, imported into the United States can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT. 

Enforcement News From Across CBP

U.S. Border Patrol Agents Seize Fentanyl and Meth at Highway Checkpoint

photo of K9 with seized drugs

Salton City, CA — On Monday, January 10, 2022, El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents arrested two United States citizens attempting to smuggle close to $175,693 worth of narcotics through an immigration checkpoint.  At approximately 9:20 p.m., a 2017 white Kia Forte 5 approached the Highway 86 checkpoint. The agent inspecting vehicles in the primary lanes referred the vehicle to secondary inspection. A Border Patrol K-9 detection team alerted agents to the rear of the vehicle. Agents inspected the trunk of the vehicle and discovered multiple boxes of contraband. The contents of the boxes contained pills that tested positive for fentanyl and a white crystal substance that tested positive for methamphetamine. The driver and passenger both 19-year-old females, were in possession of 7.8 pounds of fentanyl with an estimated street value at $115,375, and 39.5 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value at $60,318.

 CBP, Partners Intercept 1,470 Pounds of Cocaine Near St. Croix 

photo of seized cocaine

St. Thomas, VI — On January, 9, 2022, CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents, along with HSI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), intercepted a vessel with four citizens of the British Virgin Islands found transporting 1,470 pounds of cocaine.  The estimated value of the contraband is nearly $20 million. During the afternoon, an AMO Multirole Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) crew patrolling the east side of the United States Virgin Islands, detected a twin-engine boat at high speed. Suspected contraband was noticeable on the boat deck. The MEA crew assisted an AMO St. Thomas Coastal Interceptor Vessel crew and a U.S. Coast Guard Small Boat in stopping the 32’ Manta vessel 20 nautical miles east of St. Croix.  The four men in the vessel were subsequently arrested for narcotics violations. The investigation is led by HSI St. Croix with the assistance of CBP AMO St. Thomas, HSI St. Thomas, DEA St. Thomas and DEA St. Croix.

CBP Seizes Dangerous Ketamine at Dulles International Airport

photograph of seized ketamine

Dulles, VA — On December 25, 2021, CBP officers intercepted ketamine, a dangerous substance sometimes used as a club drug and in sexual assaults, when they unwrapped an express delivery parcel from Austria on Christmas day. While conducting routine examinations of arriving international parcels, officers examined a package manifested as “merchandise, writing board” that was destined to an address in Flushing, N.Y., and observed that the package was unusually heavy. Officers then opened the package and probed the side of one writing board. Officers discovered a white, powdery substance that field-tested positive for the presence of ketamine hydrochloride. CBP officers did not extract the ketamine, but seized the writing boards and turned them over to special agents from HSI. Ketamine, commonly known as Special K, delivers hallucinogenic effects, distorts perceptions, causes amnesia, temporary paralysis, and dangerously slows breathing, potentially shutting down body systems and leading to cardiac arrest or respiratory failure. 

Office of Congressional Affairs | January 2022