From: Kelly Ivahnenko []
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 3:19 PM
To: Benn, Evan - Miami
Subject: CBP's Top 10 Enforcement Events of 2008


Dec. 31, 2008

CBP Office of Public Affairs




CBP Lists Top 10 Enforcement Events of 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection today announced the agency’s “Top 10” enforcement events, including arrests, seizures and “special deliveries” culled from thousands of enforcement activities nationwide at our nation’s borders and ports of entry this year.

CBP is the largest and most complex organization within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of U.S. borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws. CBP consists of three operational offices:  Field Operations safeguards 327 land, sea and air ports of entry; Border Patrol secures the borders between ports of entry on our 5,000- mile border with Canada, 1,900-mile border with Mexico and 95,000 miles of coastline; and Air and Marine supports these activities with the world’s largest law enforcement air force.

“The examples cited here are just a small sample of the many ways we enforce hundreds of anti-terrorism, trade, immigration and other U.S. laws,” said CBP Commissioner W. Ralph Basham. “The list illustrates the vigilance of our officers and agents in carrying out our mission of protecting the American people from bad people and bad things. CBP personnel on the frontline of securing America’s borders and ports of entry have a lot to be proud of and I for one grow more thankful every day for their continued service to our country as we head into 2009.”  

Top 10 CBP enforcement events of 2008

10. CBP Officers in New York Seize Liquid Narcotics Declared as Holy Water
Buffalo, N.Y.  11/10/08

CBP officers throughout the United States often confront creative attempts to smuggle drugs into the country, from ultra light aircraft to picture frames and vehicle compartments. This example makes the list for being among the most creative attempts of 2008. In fiscal year 2008, CBP seized more than 2.78 million pounds of narcotics.

9. Tucson Sector Border Patrol Agents Deliver Baby
Tucson, Ariz.

While protecting our nation is Job #1 for CBP officers and agents, it might come as a surprise that CBP personnel—many trained as Emergency Medical Technicians—regularly come to the aid of individuals in physical distress. This is one of four examples of CBP personnel delivering a baby in 2008.

8. Los Angeles CBP Officials Seize $14 Million in Counterfeit Merchandise

Los Angeles 1/4/08

Enforcing hundreds of trade laws involves targeting and identifying trade violations from thousands of containers arriving daily at our seaports. This makes the list as one of the largest in a string of multi-million dollar counterfeit merchandise seizures. In fiscal year 2008 more than 19,000 trade enforcement seizures valued at $351 million were initiated. As part of these 19,000 seizures, violations of intellectual property rights (IPR) also totaled 14,700 seizures in FY 2008 with a domestic value of more than $267 million, exceeding the 13,600 seizures valued at $197 million from FY 2007.

7. CBP Air and Marine Instrumental in Seizures of $80 Million Worth of Cocaine in Two Seizures Totaling More Than 4 Tons of Cocaine
Washington 5/28/08

CBP Air Interdiction Agents regularly engage drug smugglers on the open ocean. This interdiction makes the list for being the largest interdiction at sea in 2008. CBP Air and Marine seized more than 363,000 pounds of marijuana and cocaine and $21 million during more than 90,000 flight hours flown this year. Included in these figures, air interdiction operations accounted for the disruption and seizure of approximately 39,000 pounds of cocaine from self-propelled semi submersibles intercepted in the Eastern Pacific and Western Caribbean.

6. Border Patrol Agents Arrest MS-13 Gang Member
Yuma, Ariz. 8/19/08

CBP officers and agents apprehend thousands of dangerous criminals and individuals with outstanding wants and warrants every year. This arrest makes the list for being among the one of the most dangerous in 2008. In fiscal year 2008, CBP
apprehended more than 200 people with serious criminal records including for murder, rape, and child molestation.

5. CBP Discovers 3 Foreign Species Seen For the First Time in U.S.
Los Angeles 9/12/08

Keeping foreign pests from wreaking havoc on our agriculture industries is part of the “Day in the Life” of CBP agriculture specialists. This makes the list as one example out of a number of “first” species of foreign insects and plant diseases intercepted this year that could have had untold consequences on our crops or indigenous plant species. In fiscal year 2008, CBP
Agriculture specialists made 1.5 million agricultural interceptions (meats and plants that are prohibited entry into the U.S.) Through inspection of commodities and seized products, they found more than 158,000 actionable or reportable plant pest interceptions.

4. CBP Seizes 29 Heroin-Filled Pellets from Carrier’s Digestive Tract
Brownsville, Texas 12/9/08

Internal carriers risk their lives to try and smuggle narcotics into the country. This example makes the list as being one of the most dangerous kinds of drug-smuggling attempts thwarted by our officers and agents.

3. CBP Not Monkeying Around with Prohibited Agriculture Products
Virginia 12/8/08

Travelers often bring fruits, meats and other food products from their native countries that are considered delicacies abroad, but that may be unintentional carriers of foreign pests or plant diseases. This example wins the day as one of the most unique CBP interceptions of the year.

2. 160 Arrested, Prosecuted for Passport Fraud at California Border Ports

San Ysidro, CA 12/16/08

CBP officers are trained in identifying fraudulent documents and imposters—individuals using legitimate documents to attempt to illegally enter the U.S. This involves quickly making admissibility decisions for thousands of travelers every day. San Ysidro, the largest land border crossing in the U.S., see upwards of 70,000 passengers and pedestrians every day. This is one example of CBP’s partnership with the State Department to intercept and prosecute individuals perpetrating passport fraud.

1. CBP Air Intercepts Ultra-Light Aircraft, Seizes Smuggled Marijuana
Tucson, Ariz. 10/10/08

A number of recent narcotics smuggling efforts involve the use of ultra-light aircraft, including this October attempt. CBP employs a variety of resources including technology, personnel and infrastructure to identify and interdict these attempts—most of which end badly for the smuggler, who is often killed or injured trying to land.

Additional Information: Securing America’s Borders - CBP 2008 Fiscal Year in Review 

CBP’s “Day in the Life” statistics:

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