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Customs & Border Protection seized $44M in narcotics in USVI & PR

- for fiscal year 2019
Overall enforcement actions by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) components in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands led to the confiscation of 90,852.08 pounds of narcotics, equating to $44 million, for the fiscal year 2019. Photo: VIC

FREDERIKSTED, St Croix, USVI- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a summary on November 4, 2019 of fiscal year (FY) 2019 border enforcement efforts in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (USVI).

CBP said the Caribbean area effort is possible through collaborative operations and partnerships with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, which have become an integral part of CBP’s procedures, in order to manage illicit activity throughout the area.

Overall enforcement actions by CBP components in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands led to the confiscation of 90,852.08 pounds of narcotics, equating to $44 million.

CBP said its Air and Marine Operations (AMO) played a major role in the determent of illegal activity throughout our 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. AMO agents seized 67,615 pounds of narcotics and $28 million in currency.

1,434 illegal immigrants held

Throughout Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, 1,434 illegal immigrants were apprehended for the federal fiscal year, which ends on September 30. The Ramey Border Patrol Sector arrested and processed 562 aliens, and other federal, state and local partners’ interdicted at-sea 876 aliens. 

Illegal immigrants with prior criminal history represented 28 percent of the total apprehensions.  Ramey Border Patrol presented 159 aliens for federal criminal prosecution; 83 of which had prior felony criminal convictions. Border Patrol Agents seized 6,010 pounds of narcotics.

According to CBP, after a decade-long $12 million investment, with the Operation Stonegarden Grant Program (OPSG) municipal and territorial law enforcement have been able to work with the Ramey Border Patrol Sector to make a difference in protecting the border. Enforcement actions have resulted in the seizure of well over 6,400 pounds of narcotics, worth over $45 million, and the apprehension of over 2,000 illegal immigrants. 

CBP officers and agriculture specialists work to protect our borders at the ports of entry while facilitating legitimate trade and travel. CBP processed 4,947,511 million travellers and 115,008 containers through our ports of entry during FY 2019.

During this time, CBP officers seized 17,227 pounds of narcotics and arrested 77 individuals, of which 23 were wanted for crimes, including murder, rape, assault, and robbery. CBP officers also denied entry to more than 737 people attempting to illegally enter the US. through air or sea ports of entry in Puerto Rico or the USVI. Furthermore, $16 million of undeclared currency was seized and over 34 firearms.

In addition, this fiscal year, CBP in the San Juan Field Office processed nearly 35,531,735 imported product entries representing nearly 25.3 billion in regional trade volume. This volume represented the collection of $230,935,549 in revenue for the US. CBP officers conducted more than 3,886 seizures related Intellectual Property Rights violations, with a domestic value of approximately 38,733,569 million.

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