SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) unified components in the Caribbean; the San Juan Field Office, the Ramey Border Patrol Sector and the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch, released on Wednesday a summary of the outcomes of their collective efforts to secure borders and facilitate travel and trade.
This effort is possible through collaborative operations and partnerships with other Federal, State and Local law enforcement, which have become an integral part of CBP’s procedures within the Caribbean, in order to generate reductions in illicit activity throughout the area.
In Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, CBP officers and agents seized over 43,303 pounds (19,642 kilos) of narcotics with an estimated street value of approximately $400 million and seized approximately $5.8 million in unreported currency in Financial Year 2012, which runs from October 2011 to September 2012.
The Caribbean Air and Marine Branch played a major role in the determent of illegal activity throughout the coasts, through the coordinated use of integrated air and marine forces to detect, interdict and prevent the unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs and other contraband in the area. Approximately 22,188 pounds of narcotics and $1,324,579 in currency was seized by CAMB this fiscal year.
Ramey Border Patrol agents patrol coastal areas in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and work to secure a safer environment as they prevent, deter, and arrest illegal aliens and narcotics that try to enter the area. During FY 2012, Ramey agents apprehended 702 undocumented aliens between the ports of entry; prosecuting 160 for violating federal immigration law based on illegal re-entry. This represents a 14% increase from FY 2011. Regarding drug seizures, over 3,032 pounds of narcotics were seized by Border Patrol agents during FY 2012.
CBP field operations officers and agriculture specialists, on the other hand, work to protect the borders at ports of entry while facilitating legitimate trade and travel. CBP processed approximately 4.9 million travelers and 115,851 containers through ports of entry during FY2012.
During this time, CBP officers seized 18,083 pounds (8,202 kilos) of narcotics and arrested 21 people wanted for crimes, including murder, rape, assault, and robbery and denied entry to more than 1,477 people attempting to illegally enter the US through an air or sea port of entry in the area; of which 110 were prosecuted for criminal violations. Furthermore, $4,496,077 in unreported currency was seized.
CBP agriculture specialists seized more than 17,491 prohibited plant materials, meat, and animal byproducts and intercepted nearly 4,512 pests. Approximately 12 insects intercepted at ports this year have been determined to be first time in port/nationwide and/or new pests.
Also this fiscal year, CBP in the San Juan Field Office processed nearly 120,813 imported product entries representing nearly $36 billion in regional trade volume. This volume represented the collection of $118 million in revenue for the US. CBP officers conducted more than 136 seizures related to intellectual property rights violations, with a domestic value of approximately $2 million.
At the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport this year, approximately 1,507 new travelers requested and were enrolled in the agency’s Trusted Traveler Programs (Global Entry) designed to expedite screening for low-risk travelers and commerce through rigorous, recurrent background checks. At the San Juan Office of Field Operations, over 1,029 small vessel owners applied for participation in the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS), a program that expedites processing of small vessels through advance screening. The Area Port of San Juan is within the five top port locations for SVRS requests in the nation.
During the past fiscal year, CBP also increased its collaboration with federal, state, local, and international partners to combat individuals and criminal organizations that pose a threat to communities. This collaboration results in interventions at and beyond the borders. Through the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG), the estimated flow of illegal migrants through the Mona Passage has registered a 90% decrease in a five year period of performance.
In FY 2012, over $46 million in Operation Stonegarden funding was provided to states to enhance cooperation and coordination among local, tribal, territorial, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in a joint mission to secure the border. Puerto Rico is among the territories receiving funding in FY 2012, which includes the municipal police in Cabo Rojo, Aguadilla, Lajas, Ponce, Ceiba, and Yabucoa.