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Tag: CBP

Drug Trafficker Busted with Marijuana Stuffed in Bundles Resembling Limes

Marijuana was found stuffed inside bundles that resembled limes.

Marijuana was found stuffed inside bundles that resembled limes.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol officials found nearly 4,000 pounds of marijuana hidden in what looked like a large shipment of limes.

The Jan. 30 raid near McAllen revealed nearly 35,000 lime-shaped bundles inside a tractor-trailer at the Pharr International Bridge, CBP said in a press release Tuesday .

The value of the marijuana was about $789,000.

Federal authorities continue to investigate.

Border Agents Defy Judges’ Orders on Trump’s Travel Ban

Protesters at Detroit Metro Airport rally against Trump’s executive order. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Patrol agents ignored the orders of federal judges who said Donald Trump’s travel bans are unenforceable, members of congress and civil rights attorneys said.

Muslims from the seven countries on the travel-ban list were still being detained Sunday, two days after three judges ordered a temporary halt to the deportation of people who had arrived with valid visas in the U.S., the Guardian reports. 

On Sunday, four Democratic members of the House of Representatives visited Dulles airport in Virginia after it was discovered that people had been detained and weren’t allowed to see lawyers.

“We have a constitutional crisis today,” representative Don Beyer wrote on Twitter. “Four members of Congress asked CBP officials to enforce a federal court order and were turned away.”

Representative Jamie Raskin also tweeted, “As far as I know no attorney has been allowed to see any arriving passenger subject to Trumps exec order at Dulles today.”

He added: “CBP appears to be saying people in their custody not ‘detained’ technically & Dulles international arrivals areas not in the United States.”

Homeland Security has declined to comment.

Protests were launched across the country to protest the ban on travel from the seven Muslim-majority countries.

Border Patrol Chief Steps Down After Trump Reveals Wall Plan

Border Patrol chief, Mark Morgan

Border Patrol chief, Mark Morgan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol chief stepped down Thursday after President Trump signed executive orders increasing border security.

It remains unclear whether Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan resigned voluntarily or under pressure, CNN reports. 

Morgan’s departure comes at a tense time as Trump looks to build a wall and increase boots on the ground near the border.

CBP Acting-Commissioner Kevin McAleenan thanked Morgan for his service in a written statement.

“I want to thank Mark Morgan for his unwavering dedication to our border security mission, and recognize his life-long career in service to the nation,” McAleenan said. “Mark Morgan’s career spans more than 31 years of faithful service to the nation, including service in the U.S. Marine Corps, as a local deputy sheriff and police officer, 20 years in the FBI, as Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Internal Affairs, and, finally, as Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. I wish him every success in the future.”

Trump’s executive orders involving border protection must still be approved by Congress because of funding needs.

Construction Begins on $11M Border Patrol Complex in Moreno Valley, Calif.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new Customs and Border Protection command center is under construction at March Air Reserve Base in Moreno Valley, Calif.

Federal officials celebrated the new construction Wednesday during a groundbreaking ceremony, Patch.com reports. 

The Air and Marine Operations Center is expected to cost $11 million and be built over the next 12 months. The center will replace an adjacent facility that was built in 1988 and lacks space.

Patch wrote:

The AMOC serves as the coordination hub for interdiction missions off the California coast as well as airborne interdiction missions along the U.S.- Mexico border, according to the CBP.

Personnel monitor air and sea traffic on a 24-hour basis. The new building will house the latest data processing, telecommunications and satellite-based tracking hardware available, according to the agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

In addition to coordinating helicopter and fixed-wing intercepts, the AMOC also handles unmanned aerial vehicle deployments, according to the CBP’s website.

Border Patrol Agents Cleared of Wrongdoing After 4 Shootings

Border PatrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol officials have concluded that agents acted properly while opening fire while on duty on four different occasions, The Los Angeles Times reports. 

An internal panel for Customs and Border Protection reviewed the cases after concerns about a pattern of agents using deadline force.

CBP also is investigating 14 other shootings.

In one of the cases where agents were found to have acted properly, they repeatedly fired at the engine of a boat smuggling immigrants near Solana Beach in San Diego County in June 2015.

After the shooting, the boat crashed with the agent’s boat and capsized. One woman drowned.

Two other cases involve agents opening fire on people throwing rocks at them.

In the fourth shooting, an agent shot a suspect who was clutching a rifle and fleeing local police.

Other Stories of Interest

Homeland Security Wants Permission to Ask Travelers for Social Media Accounts

passport1By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection may ask travelers for more than their passports as America looks to tighten its vetting process.

CBP submitted a proposal that would enable official to requests that travelers voluntarily disclose their social media account information, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. 

“It will be an optional data field to request social media identifiers to be used for vetting purposes, as well as applicant contact information,” the CPB said in the proposal.

Citizens from 38 countries are allowed to travel to the U.S. for business or tourism for no longer than 90 days without a visa.

The social media information would help officials assess “potential risks to national security,” Homeland Security said.

Border Patrol Mechanic to Be Sentenced for Stealing Parts from CBP Vehicles

Border PatrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Customs and Border Protect mechanic who sold parts from Border Patrol vehicles on eBay is scheduled to be sentenced soon.

Herold Demes, who worked for Border Patrol in Tucson, was indicted by a grand jury last month on a theft charge, Fronteradesk.org reports. 

Among the parts Demes sold were two driver-side airbags, a fuel pump and seat belt tensioner.

Demes admitted in federal court that he sold the parts.

Prosecutors will ask a judge to impose a maximum six-month sentence and order restitution of $2,400.

Slate: Body Cameras Not Enough to Bring Transparency to Border Patrol

Border PatrolBy Bryce Clayton Newell
Slate

In November, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Richard Gil Kerlikowske announced that the agency would expand its body-worn camera deployment in the coming months, using the cameras in “law enforcement operations such as checkpoints, vessel boarding and interdictions, training environments, and outbound operations at ports of entry.” This is a modest expansion to the border control agency’s ongoing pilot program, and it comes in spite of an internal evaluation by the agency’s Body-Worn Camera Working Group recommending caution because, among other reasons, the cameras might distract officers, lower officer morale, and fail to work in the harsh climate that border agents work in along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Adopting body-worn cameras as part of a larger project to make the agency more transparent and accountable is potentially a step in the right direction. But without the implementation of proper policies for camera use and public disclosure of footage, it won’t do much to overcome the agency’s historical lack of transparency and its general resistance to releasing video footage to the public. Unless CBP commits to greater transparency and external oversight as part of its body-worn camera program, the cameras may become just another tool of government surveillance wielded by the state without adequate oversight.

In an independent review of agency response to cases of alleged abuse in 2013, investigators found that CBP agents have “deliberately stepped in the path of cars … to justify shooting at the drivers” and have repeatedly fired their weapons through the border fence at Mexican nationals on Mexican soil. (The review was commissioned by CBP, but the agency has tried to keep it from coming to light.) Another investigation found that across 42 agent-involved killings between 2005 and 2013, there has not been a single case in which an officer is “publicly known to have faced consequences.”

At the same time, CBP has also frequently withheld video evidence of agent-involved shootings, even in high-profile cases like the 2012 shooting of José Antonio Elena Rodriguez. In August 2015, a federal judge also sanctioned the agency for destroying video evidence that it was required to preserve during an ongoing civil rights lawsuit. Agent Lonnie Ray Swartz, the officer involved in the case of José Antonio, has recently become the first agent ever charged with murder for shooting a Mexican national through the border fence. However, CBP and the U.S. Justice Department have continually refused to release existing video of the incident to the public. Swartz repeatedly fired his weapon through the fence, hitting 16-year-old José Antonio 10 times, including eight times in the back (and possibly reloading in the process) as the youth was walking away from the officer, supposedly on his way home from a basketball game. Swartz claims it was self-defense.

To read more, click here. 

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