A check of what’s happening at various U.S. ports of entry controlled by Customs and Border Protection led to these tidbits of interest to cargo owners and transportation providers.
- Officers at the rail checkpoint in Portal, N.D., intercepted five Canadian citizens a week ago who were riding concealed aboard a locomotive. The stowaways were picked up a vehicle and cargo imaging system that scans railcars as they cross the border. An officer spotted the outlines of the subjects in the image. The train was stopped and the individuals were taken into custody and returned to Canada.
- Last Thursday, Customs border control personnel in the Port of San Juan seized 73 kilograms of cocaine and six kilograms of heroin concealed in two bags inside a container arriving from Caucedo, Dominican Republic. Specialists made the decision to inspect all containers arriving on board the vessel Columbia. The containers underwent an X-ray exam and some were randomly selected for a physical check. The local port director said the agency is increasing enforcement operations on all inbound containerized cargo from the Dominican Republic and other known drug trafficking countries.
- Motorists and truckers are benefiting from the opening of three new lanes at a Customs plaza on the U.S. side of the Blue Water Bridge linking Port Huron, Mich., and Sarnia, Ontario. The project was completed Saturday, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation. The three “staggered” inspection booths, in addition to three that opened in May, increase the total number of booths to 19. The six booths cost $1.5 million to install. The staggered booths allow drivers to wait in the same lane, then pull into the first available booth. The bridge operator says the new lanes are already making a difference in processing time for vehicles.
- Border Patrol agents in the Tucson sector of Arizona on June 25 confiscated a heavy-duty truck loaded with 1,703 pounds of marijuana hidden in crates of pumpkins and chili peppers. The driver, a U.S. citizen, was arrested. The drugs are worth an estimated $851,500. The stop was made at a checkpoint on Interstate 19, not at the border.
- At the Laredo port of entry in Texas last month, import specialists directed Customs officers to a commercial shipment of counterfeit Levi Strauss jeans valued at $193,800. CBP seized 96 cartons containing 2,850 pairs of jeans. – Eric Kulisch