An inside look at CBP Field Operations in Laredo

LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) – Laredo has some of the busiest international bridges in the country where thousands cross daily for work, school, or leisure but before entering the U.S., people need to go through customs.

While not everyone understands the process of what the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations do on a daily basis; it takes a lot to keep our ports of entry running.

It’s a repetitive process; a Customs and Border Protection agent checks to see if the driver is carrying anything illegal.

Thousands of people and cargo cross into the United States through one of the six ports of entry including the airport and the railroad bridge.

On Tuesday, KGNS News and other media outlets got a closer look at the all too familiar process that happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

It’s a process that could be quick, but if needed, a more in-depth search takes place.

The vehicle is sent to secondary inspection and inspected thoroughly by K-9s and officers.

CBP Watch Commander Jesus Barrera says they are the only agency in the entire nation that has border search authority.

“For instance, every vehicle that we encounter has a direct nexus to entering or departing the United States where able to conduct searches and seizures without having probable cause or having permission or consent of the vehicle”, said Barrera.

It’s not surprising the things agents encounter from different types of food, drugs, and items that are not allowed into the U.S.

CBP Agricultural Specialist Rodolfo Lerma says they see many people bring in agricultural products not permitted.

“Being fruits and vegetables, apples, oranges, etc. pork products, raw chicken, and plants. We have seen some hiding plants in some of the baggage that people bring and don’t declare”, said Lerma.

He says whether people travel by vehicle or bus, everyone should declare what they are bringing through the ports of entry.

If a person is found with these prohibited items, they can be fined up to $1,000 or even be arrested.

Inspecting vehicles, baggage, and people can take a couple of minutes.

That’s why officials ask those coming into the country to have their documents in order and ready to go.

“It’s a game changer for us we see it as a facilitation measure to ensure that we continue to process the traffic in a timely manner”, said CBP supervisor Diego Hernandez.

Hernandez says people getting informed about what is prohibited to cross and having documents in order is key to making the entry much faster.

To reduce the wait times or to receive a permit faster, the agency says people can download the CBP One App to get a head start before arriving at a port of entry.

For more headlines. click here.


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