Archive for March, 2011


March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

U.S. Border Patrol Seizes More Than $264K of Marijuana and Currency in San Diego
(Thursday, March 31, 2011)
contacts for this news release

San Diego – Early Tuesday morning, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested two U.S. citizens, one male and one female, and a female Jamaican national suspected of smuggling nearly 300 pounds of marijuana near the Border Patrol checkpoint in Temecula, Calif.

Seized Drugs and Cash-Temecula

Agents stopped two suspicious vehicles, a 2003 Volvo SUV and a 2011 Chevrolet Impala rental car traveling in tandem on southbound Interstate 15 near Mission Road. At approximately 2:30 a.m., agents questioned the driver of the Volvo, a 22-year-old male resident of Los Angeles, and the 31-year-old driver and 21-year-old passenger of the Impala. Agents became suspicious of the nervous demeanor and inconsistent answers of the three individuals.

A Border Patrol K-9 team was summoned and performed a cursory inspection of the two vehicles, both resulting in a positive alert. Agents performed a search of the Volvo and discovered 63 cellophane-wrapped marijuana bundles with a total weight of 295 pounds and an estimated street value of nearly $177,000. A subsequent search of the Impala revealed $25,294 in cash located in the center console.

The suspected drug smugglers, narcotics, currency and Volvo were taken into custody and subsequently turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Later in the day, Border Patrol agents assigned to the I-8 checkpoint near Pine Valley, Calif., arrested a 48-year-old female Mexican national for attempting to smuggle 103 pounds of marijuana in the tires of a 1995 GMC SUV.

A Border Patrol K-9 team inspection resulted in a positive alert to all four of the GMC’s tires. Agents removed the tires and uncovered more than 103 pounds of marijuana concealed inside with an estimated street value of more than $62,000. The suspected smuggler and narcotics were turned over to a multi-agency drug task force. The 1995 GMC SUV was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

To prevent the smuggling of humans, drugs and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a strong enforcement posture on major routes of egress from the border, including the Interstate 15 corridor. Since the beginning of the 2011 fiscal year, agents in the San Diego Sector have seized more than 52,529 pounds of marijuana.


Are they real Marines? Or Illegal Aliens?

March 22, 2011 2 comments

Clad in U.S. Marine uniforms, the illegal immigrants were apprehended at the Campo Border Patrol Westbound I-8 checkpoint at 11 p.m. on March 14 near Pine Valley, Calif., according to a March 15 report by California's El Centro Border Intelligence Center.

Clad in U.S. Marine uniforms, the illegal immigrants were apprehended at the Campo Border Patrol Westbound I-8 checkpoint at 11 p.m. on March 14 near Pine Valley, Calif., according to a March 15 report by California’s El Centro Border Intelligence Center.

Officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection are investigating a report that 13 illegal immigrants who were disguised as U.S. Marines were apprehended in a fake military van last week.

Clad in U.S. Marine uniforms, the illegal immigrants were apprehended at the Campo Border Patrol Westbound I-8 checkpoint at 11 p.m. on March 14 near Pine Valley, Calif., according to information received by California’s El Centro Border Intelligence Center.

After the suspicious white van was subjected to secondary inspection, it was determined that the driver of the vehicle and its front seat passenger were U.S. citizens who were attempting to smuggle 13 illegal immigrants into the United States. All of the vehicle’s occupants wore U.S. Marine uniforms, reportedly emblazoned with the name "Perez."

The van used in the smuggling attempt, according to the report, was a privately owned vehicle registered out of Yucca Valley, Calif., and was bearing stolen government plates that had been defaced. The center digit — 0 — was altered to read as an 8. Further research through multiple government agencies determined that the plate belonged to a one-ton cargo van registered to the U.S. Marine Corps.

"Agents are reminded to remain vigilant for new smuggling trends," the report concludes.

CBP spokesman Michael Friel told that the agency was investigating the report. A call seeking comment from Department of Defense officials was not immediately returned.

Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Steven Pitts, a spokesman for CBP’s San Diego sector, confirmed to Homeland Security Today "that [the apprehensions] did occur" and that the 11 undocumented aliens had been processed for deportation.

A total of three U.S. citizens were processed on "alien smuggling charges," Pitts told the website. The original report, however, cited two U.S. citizens.

Pitts told the website that the San Diego Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s Southwest Field Office has taken the lead in investigating the incident. An investigation is ongoing, Pitts said, adding that federal charges related to the allegedly stolen vehicle could be added later.

After stopping the van, CBP agents determined that none of the van’s occupants possessed military identification cards and each U.S. Marine uniform bore the name "Perez," Homeland Security Today reports.

The van entered into the United States via Mexicali, Mexico, and proceeded to Calexico, Calif., where the U.S. Marine uniforms were donned, according to Homeland Security Today.

The Campo Border Station was constructed in June 2008 and is located roughly 28 miles east of San Diego Sector Headquarters in rural East San Diego County. It is responsible for securing approximately 13.1 linear miles of the U.S.-Mexico border and 417 square miles of surrounding territory. An estimated 7,000 vehicles pass through its two checkpoints daily, according to its website.

Border Patrol to boost O.C. presence

March 4, 2011 Leave a comment

U.S. Border Patrol agents plan to increase their Orange County presence as maritime smuggling of people and drugs is on the rise, officials said.
"You’re going to see a lot more Border Patrol agents in your area," Steve McPartland, supervising agent at the Border Patrol station south of San Clemente, told about 60 people at a town hall meeting Thursday night in Dana Point.
Border Patrol agents want local residents to look out for panga boats like this one photographed April 14 at San Onofre State Beach. The patrol’s San Diego sector plans to increase its presence in Orange County as more immigrant smugglers land on the county’s coast. More than 20 people from this boat were detained.
It was the first time the Border Patrol had held a meeting to address its new battle on the sea following at least four recent apprehensions at local beaches of groups of people suspected of sailing to the country illegally.
In one those cases, Feb. 15, agents apprehended 18 Mexican nationals in a boat off Dana Point. That was a day after a similar group was apprehended at San Onofre State Beach.
Officials point to tighter scrutiny of land borders as a cause for the new sea smuggling routes. They say that despite the rise in illegal operations on the water, the overall number of people trying to enter the country illegally has dropped.
The Border Patrol’s San Diego sector, which covers San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties, has held many town halls in border towns to talk about how to report suspicious activity connected to land crossings. But now agents are preparing coastal communities to do the same and described Dana Pont Harbor as an optimum spot for smuggling.
"Quite frankly, we can’t be everywhere at once," McPartland said.
He flipped through a slide show of images of panga boats, water scooters and sailboats, all of which could be used by smugglers. In fiscal 2010, which began in October 2009, federal agents apprehended 867 people coming in from the sea, according to Border Patrol records. In fiscal 2009, maritime apprehensions were about half that, and a quarter as much the year before. Paul Beeson, chief patrol agent of the San Diego sector, said apprehensions are likely to reach beyond 2010’s numbers this year.
The boats often start at Rosarito Beach, Mexico, go out 40 miles and then head north. Many stop on the San Diego coast, but recently more are stopping along the 42 miles of Orange County coastline, often in the pre-dawn hours, with the occupants rushing toward vehicles ready to spirit them away.
"Orange County has become the issue now. It’s the center of the action," McPartland said.
If you see a small boat, a life vest or gas cans and other fuel containers along the beach, report it, agents said.
And while human smuggling is increasing onshore, more drugs are being transported in ultra light aircraft – a common occurrence along the Arizona border that is creeping into California as well, officials said. Pleasure boats also are beginning to be used more for drug transport because they are unexpected, McPartland said.

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