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Tag: CBP

Police: CBP Employee Fatally Shot Wife, Sons And Self at Their Florida Home

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection employee fatally shot his wife and two sons before killing himself in their Florida home Thursday, according to authorities.

Orange County Sheriff’s deputies discovered four bodies at the home after CBP alerted authorities that they had not heard from the employee, whose identity has not yet been released, CNN reports.

The CBP employee was stationed at the Orlando International Airpot.

The employee’s sons were in middle school and high school.

CBP Finds Human Brain in Shipment Coming from Canada

Human brain found at the Canadian-Michigan border.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were in for a surprise when they inspected a Canadian mail truck that had crossed the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Mich.

They found a human brain specimen inside a glass jar. It was not accompanied by any of the mandated paperwork or documentation to bring the brain into the country, CBP says in a news release.

The shipment originated in Toronto and was headed for Kenosha, Wis.

“Individuals looking to import shipments such as this, need to remember that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a strict Import Permit Program that must be adhered to,” Area Port Director Michael Fox said. “This is just another great example of just one of the many things CBP officers do to protect our nation on a daily basis.”

CBP has notified the CDC of the discovery.

House Committee Accuses CBP of ‘Stonewalling’ Investigation into Offensive Facebook Post

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

U.S. House members investigating a secret and offensive Facebook group used by former and current Border Patrol members are accusing U.S. Customs and Border Protection of “stonewalling” an investigation into the social media page.

In a letter to CBP administrators, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., says the agency continues to hold up documents needed to investigate the group.

“To date, CBP has not produced any information regarding a single employee who was involved in the secret Facebook groups and has not made a single witness available for a transcribed interview. This stonewalling is unacceptable,” Maloney wrote in the letter, according to The Hill.

She added, “The Committee now insists on full compliance with all of its previous requests, or we will be forced to consider compulsory process.”

In July, CBP says it was investigating the Facebook group.

ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative news outlet, revealed the group, which included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

One of the posts included an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Then-Border Patrol chief Carla Provost said in a statement last year that the “posts are are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out.”

Last summer, the House Oversight Committed began investigating the group, but now officials say they have hit a wall because CBP is not cooperating.

“CBP has been obstructing the committee’s investigation by making baseless and shifting legal claims in order to avoid producing critical documents and witnesses,” the letter reads.

“As a result, the Committee has been unable to determine whether CBP employees who made inappropriate and threatening comments are still on the job, potentially putting children, immigrants and fellow CBP employees at risk,” Maloney added.

Border Officers Help Deliver Baby in CBP Car on Texas Bridge

CBP officers helped deliver a baby. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

CBP officers helped deliver a baby at the Free Trade International Bridge at Los Indios in Texas.

Shortly after 7 a.m. on Sunday, a 16-year-old U.S. resident went into labor at the midpoint of the bridge. CBP officers were preparing to take the teenager to the hospital, but she was in full labor.

So CBP officers helped deliver the baby inside a CBP vehicle.

“Our officers are ready for a variety of situations, even childbirth, and they utilized all of their training and experience to calm the mother and assist with her delivery, which happened almost immediately after crossing back into the United States,” Port Director Tater Ortiz, Brownsville Port of Entry, said in a news release.

The mother and her health baby were transported to a local hospital, where they were reported in good health.

Trump Administration Shrouds CBP in Secrecy by Changing Its Designation to ‘Security Agency’

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Trump administration has changed CBP’s designation to make it a “security agency,” a move that shrouds the agency in secrecy.

An internal memo signed by CBP’s Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan revealed the change in designation, which became effective Jan. 31, The Nation reports.

With added layers of secrecy, CBP has the same designation as agencies like the FBI and Secret Service.

The change allows CBP to exempt key records from being disclosed to the public.

“I am pleased to announce CBP has been designated as a Security Agency under Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) official Data Release Policy, effective immediately,” the memo states. “Previously, only frontline law enforcement, investigative, or intelligence positions held this designation. This policy change now protects all CBP employee names from subsequent responses to Freedom of Information Act requests or other public disclosures for CGP employee data.”

Government transparency advocates warned that the change would make the agency less transparent at a time when it has come under intense public scrutiny.

“It puts their employees in the same category as FBI agents,” Irvin McCullough, national security analyst with the Government Accountability Project said. “The problems we’ve seen out of our immigration agencies over the past few years show that we need more transparency, not less. Why is there such a rush to restrict this information from the public? Given their track record, the burden is on them to explain exactly why they need these restrictions.”

Brian Hastings Named Chief Border Patrol Agent of Rio Grande Valley Sector

Brian Hastings, the new chief Border Patrol agent of the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Brian Hastings has been named the new chief Border Patrol agent of the Rio Grande Valley Sector, CBP announced Wednesday.

Hastings has plenty of experience in executive leadership positions. Most recently, he oversaw daily law enforcement operations at all Border Patrol sectors as chief of the Law Enforcement Operations Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington D.C.

A 25-year veteran of the agency, Hastings will be tasked with leading a sector that saw a record number of undocumented immigrant apprehensions.

“Supporting the men and women of the RGV Sector, all of whom accomplished amazing things to secure this nation during a time of an unprecedented crisis, is my priority,” Hastings said in a news release. “RGV agents have been at the epicenter of the crisis throughout and they performed those duties in an outstanding manner.”

Hastings added, “I am committed to doing everything I can to strengthen the already incredible partnerships that my predecessors, current leaders, and agents have formed in the Rio Grande Valley.”

The RGV Sector secures 277 miles of rivers and 316 coastal miles across 34 countries.

Authorities Seize Record-Breaking $134M Worth of Counterfeit Super Bowl Merchandise

Counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A record-breaking $134 million worth of counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise was seized in Miami ahead of the big game Sunday.

Authorities from CBP, ICE and Homeland Security Investigations targeted international shipments of the counterfeit merchandise, as well as flea markets, retail outlets and street vendors, as part of the ongoing sting Operation Team Player, which focuses on counterfeit sports merchandise. They seized fake jerseys, jewelry, hats, cell-phone accessories and thousands of other bogus items that were to be sold to unsuspecting consumers.

Last year, Operation Team Player seized $24.2 million worth of counterfeit sports merchandise.

“Every day, cargo containers containing billions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit goods enter the United States through its land, sea and air ports of entry,” Steve Francis, director of Homeland Security Investigations’ Intellectual Property Rights, said in a news release. “This year’s record-breaking ‘Operation Team Player’ results affirm HSI’s commitment to protecting American consumers, the economy, and legitimate business, by ensuring Super Bowl 54 is not compromised by transnational criminal networks exploiting fan enthusiasm for illicit profits. Sports fans from around the world, who’ve spent their hard-earned money to support their favorite NFL team, deserve to receive genuine, high-quality officially licensed merchandise in return.”

Border Officials Discover Longest Drug-Smuggling Tunnel Ever Found Along Southwest Border

Longest drug-smuggling tunnel ever found along the southwest border.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol officials said Wednesday they discovered the largest drug-smuggling tunnel ever found along the southwest border.

The intricate, bending tunnel stretches more than three-quarters of a mile and features a rail system, forced air ventilation, elevator and a complex drainage system.

The 5-and-a-half-foot tall tunnel begins in an industrial area in Tijuana, Mexico, and meanders more than 4,300 feet into a San Diego neighborhood, CBP said.

“I am thrilled that this high level narco-tunnel has been discovered and will be rendered unusable for cross-border smuggling. I am proud of the tremendous efforts of the Tunnel Task Force and our agents,” Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke said in a news release.

“The sophistication and length of this particular tunnel demonstrates the time-consuming efforts transnational criminal organizations will undertake to facilitate cross-border smuggling,” said Cardell T. Morant, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego.

Officials first discovered the tunnel in August.

“As efforts to strengthen security on our Southern Border increase, Mexican drug cartels are forced underground to smuggle their deadly drugs into the United States,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge John Callery. “The sophistication of this tunnel demonstrates the determination and monetary resources of the cartels.  And although the cartels will continue to use their resources to try and breach our border, the DEA and our partners on the Tunnel Task Force will continue to use our resources to ensure they fail, that our border is secure, and that tunnels like this are shut down to stem the flow of deadly drugs entering the United States.”