Border agents in Texas report 177% increase in encounters with inadmissible individuals in 2022
Agents also apprehended 98 individuals on the Terrorist Screening Database System compared to 16 in fiscal 2021.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
In fiscal 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents working at eight South Texas ports of entry reported a 177% increase in encounters with inadmissible individuals and a 19% increase in seized cocaine, CBP says.
They also seized a significant amount of narcotics, unreported currency, weapons and uncovered numerous immigration violations during fiscal 2022.
“As nonessential traffic resumed early in Fiscal Year 2022, overall workload volumes returned to normal but CBP officers continued to experience the ongoing trend of hard narcotics, particularly cocaine and significant gains in encounters of individuals without valid entry documents,” Eugene Crawford, acting director, Field Operations at the Laredo Field Office, said. “The hard narcotics volume underscores the seriousness of the drug threat we face and hemispheric economic and security challenges also tend to drive the migration volumes.”
The eight ports of entry extend from the Del Rio Sector near the middle of the Texas border to the southernmost part of Texas in Brownsville in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.
In the Laredo Field Office alone, agents seized 47,755 pounds of narcotics with a combined estimated street value of $436 million. They also seized 6,578 pounds of marijuana, 10,243 pounds of cocaine, up 19% from fiscal 2021, nearly 30,476 pounds of methamphetamine, 176 pounds of heroin and nearly 282 pounds of fentanyl. They also seized $5.8 million in unreported currency, 320 weapons and 78,487 rounds of ammunition.
Laredo Field Office CBP officers also determined that more than 57,732 foreign nationals weren’t admissible to the U.S. due to prior violations of immigration law, an increase of 177% from fiscal 2021.
CBP agriculture specialists intercepted 99,264 items of quarantine animal and plant material and 5,015 pests.
Nationwide, CBP agents confiscated nearly 155,000 pounds of marijuana, over 175,000 pounds of meth, over 70,000 pounds of cocaine, nearly 175,000 pounds of khat, and over 49,000 pounds of other drugs, which include oxycodone and other drug precursors, opium and prescription pills among other drugs.
They also confiscated nearly 15,000 pounds of fentanyl. With two milligrams considered a lethal dose, this equates to over 3.4 million lethal doses.
Nationwide, CBP agents also made nearly $60 million worth of currency and other monetary seizures in fiscal 2022.
The weapons and ammunition seizures data on the CBP dashboard was down and inaccessible when The Center Square attempted to access it on Jan. 4 and 5 due to a glitch in the system. Glitches in the system are increasingly being reported. Another glitch resulted in September 2022 San Diego Sector apprehension data not being accessible.
Nationwide, agents apprehended 751 known gang members in fiscal 2022, the majority of which were members of MS-13. That’s compared to 363 in fiscal 2020.
They also apprehended 12,028 “criminal noncitizens” in fiscal 2022, up from 2,438 apprehended in fiscal 2020. These are individuals who’ve been convicted of one or more crimes either in the U.S. or abroad prior to being interdicted by Border Patrol agents.
Among them, the most had criminal records for illegal reentry, illegal drug possession and/or trafficking, driving under the influence, assault, battery, and domestic violence. The numbers were significantly higher in several categories in fiscal 2022 compared to previous years, including 1,614 arrested for driving under the influence in fiscal 2022 compared to 364 in fiscal 2020.
Likewise, 62 were arrested by BP agents who had criminal records showing they’d been convicted of homicide or manslaughter compared to three in fiscal 2020.
Agents also apprehended 98 individuals on the Terrorist Screening Database System compared to 16 in fiscal 2021, three each in fiscal 2020 and 2019, six in fiscal 2018 and two in fiscal 2017.