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Orange Alert Level inspections boosting drug seizures for U.S. Customs

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Customs Orange Alert Level inspections may not have netted the federal agency any terr...

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Customs Orange Alert Level inspections may not have netted the federal agency any terrorist-related material but has proved fruitful with drug seizures.

For example, U.S. Customs Inspectors and Canine Enforcement Officers at 10 South Texas ports of entry seized $6.6 million in narcotics in the first week under Orange Alert. The increased vigilance commensurate with the nationwide move to Alert Level Orange resulted in a 62 percent increase in seizure volume over the previous week.

During the seven-day period , U.S. Customs Inspectors working at 10 ports of entry, from Brownsville to Del Rio to Austin, seized 2,752 pounds of marijuana, 209 pounds of cocaine, 37 pounds of methamphetamine and $10,126 in undeclared U.S. currency. Officers also apprehended 31 fugitives and recovered one stolen vehicle.

Meanwhile U.S. Customs Service inspectors, canine enforcement officers and special agents working in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico made 79 drug seizures during the week and seized 21,846 pounds of marijuana, 62 pounds of cocaine, and 41 pounds of methamphetamine.

"The primary goal of the intensified Customs inspections at area ports of entry is anti-terrorism but the volume of other violations uncovered during the last week indicates that other threats are present,” said P.T. Wright, U.S. Customs Service Director of Field Operations in West Texas and New Mexico. “Those waiting in line to cross the border need to know that the intensified inspection process is producing tremendous enforcement results.”

The largest seizure during the seven-day period occurred on February 7 at the Bridge of the Americas in El Paso when U.S. Customs Service inspectors seized 12,620 pounds of marijuana from a truck hauling wooden pallets from Mexico to the U.S.

Under Alert Level Orange, U.S. Customs implements additional security precautions, including increased vehicle, passenger, cargo, and mail examinations.

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