From the daily archives: Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Calexico, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the

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This open railcar, called a gondola, contained more than $9  million worth of marijuana.
This open railcar, called a gondola, contained more than $9 million worth of marijuana.

Calexico downtown port of entry discovered more than 9,000 pounds of marijuana concealed inside an open-top rail car — known as a gondola — that was destined for the U.S., officials announced today.

On Friday, June 4, at about 4:30 p.m., a commercial train coming from Mexico entered the Calexico downtown port of entry for inspection. Officers with the port’s Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team screened the rail cars with an x-ray imaging system that detected anomalies with the gondola’s contents.

Packages of marijuana were hidden beneath the gondola's contents  and were detected by CBP officers.
Packages of marijuana were hidden beneath the gondola’s contents and were detected by CBP officers.

At the Calexico railroad yard, an intensive inspection that included a canine team led officers to the discovery of 352 wrapped packages concealed under layers of glass, dirt and wood in the gondola rail car. Ten additional packages concealed in two backpacks were also located on a second rail car. The street value of the narcotic load is more than $9 million.

“This is another example of how technology, detector dogs and hard work by our officers all contribute to keeping a large amount of dangerous drugs from reaching our communities,” said Billy Whitford, port director for the Calexico port of entry.

CBP seized the narcotics and returned the shipment of glass, dirt and wood to Mexico.

 

Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling on Congress to pass tough financial services reform legislation that contains strong consumer protection and allows state attorneys general to “enforce all federal consumer protection laws against national banks, not just regulations that may be adopted by the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency.”

Brown’s letter:

Dear Speaker Pelosi:

In anticipation of a compromise on the House and Senate financial services reform bills, I urge you to press for the strongest possible language to protect consumers and our economy from another debilitating crisis caused by reckless Wall Street banking practices and complicit federal regulators.

Two elements of a compromise bill are key to that protection. One, national banks should be subject to the same state consumer protection laws as state banking institutions and virtually a! ll companies operating in industries other than financial services. And, two, state attorneys general should have the authority to enforce all applicable consumer protection laws against national banks.

The House language is preferable on both points, and I recommend that you push for its adoption. It would establish a higher burden for the OCC to preempt state consumer protection laws. It also would allow state attorneys general to enforce all federal consumer protection laws against national banks, not just regulations that may be adopted by the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

Sincerely,

EDMUND G. BROWN JR.

 

June 8, 2010 – Finish Line announced today the continuation of its partnership with Soles4Souls, the international shoe charity, to collect new and gently used shoes at the company’s 670 store locations. In addition, Finish Line is expanding the program by accepting monetary donations for Soles4Souls in its stores. Customers can donate at Finish Line stores from now until July 17th. The collection effort has been timed to coincide with Soles4Souls 3rd annual “National Barefoot Week” which kicked off on June 1st.

Soles4Souls, a Nashville, Tennessee based not-for-profit organization focused on providing free shoes to those in need around the world, is joining forces with Finish Line and the general public to once again distribute more than 50,000 pairs of shoes within the United States and raise funds for additional distributions. Soles4Souls, an organization that commonly responds to natural disasters all around the world, is currently assisting residents in its hometown of Nashville and surrounding areas by donating 85,000 pairs of shoes to flood victims in Tennessee.

Finish Line has begun collecting monetary donations in an effort to assist Soles4Souls in reaching their stated goal of providing 1 million pairs of shoes to victims of the Haitian earthquake. All funds collected (100 percent) will go directly to benefit Soles4Souls and its charitable efforts. “Finish Line has taken on our cause as their own for the past 3 years, and we are extremely proud to partner with them once again to reach thousands of people who are suffering,” said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. “Their generosity directly benefits people who need our assistance, and we invite everyone to stop by a Finish Line location to become personally involved,” he said.

During the past three years, Finish Line has collected more than 250,000 pairs of new or gently used shoes for Soles4Souls to distribute at home and abroad. “Finish Line is proud to support the mission of Soles4Souls as we work together throughout the year to help the less fortunate among us,” said Glenn Lyon, Finish Line CEO.

About Finish Line
The Finish Line, Inc. is a premium athletic footwear store and one of the nation’s largest mall-based specialty retailers, offering a large selection of performance and everyday sport footwear, apparel and accessories for men, women and kids. The Finish Line, Inc. is publicly traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol FINL. The company operates 670 Finish Line stores in 47 states and offers online shopping at www.finishline.com.

About Soles4Souls
Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from warehouses of footwear companies and the closets of people like you.  We distribute these shoes, free of charge, to people in need around the world. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 10 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently distributing one pair every 9 seconds). The shoes have been distributed in 125 countries, including Haiti, Kenya, Nepal and the United States. Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS and donating parties are eligible for tax advantages.

 

Calexico, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the ports of entry in Calexico had a busy day Wednesday, arresting six people and preventing more than 123 pounds of drugs with an estimated value of $541,660 from entering the country.

Officers seized 34 packages of marijuana concealed in the gas tank and side panels of a Honda Civic.

The first incident occurred at approximately 5:05 a.m. when a narcotics detection dog in the downtown Calexico port of entry primary vehicle area alerted to a 2003 black Honda Civic driven by a 32-year-old male U. S. citizen. Officers removed the driver from the vehicle and escorted him to a holding area. A secondary vehicle inspection revealed 17 plastic wrapped packages concealed in the gas tank and 17 plastic wrapped packages concealed in the side panels of the rear passenger area, all containing marijuana. The total weight of the drugs was more than 29 pounds with an estimated value of $29,670.

Packages of cocaine estimated at $435,520 were found concealed in the dash area, driver door, passenger door, and front quarter panels of a Ford Mustang.

The next incident occurred at approximately 11:15 a.m. at the Calexico East port of entry. A CBP officer referred a 2000 silver Ford Mustang for a secondary inspection after conducting an interview of the 22-year-old male Mexican citizen driver and noticing the nervous behavior of the 22-year-old female Mexican citizen passenger. During the secondary inspection, a narcotic detector dog gave a positive alert to the interior of the vehicle. Further inspection revealed packages concealed in the dash area, driver door, passenger door, and front quarter panels. Officers retrieved 20 packages of cocaine weighing more than 54 pounds with an estimated street value of $435,520.

The third incident occurred at the downtown Calexico port of entry at approximately 11:37 a.m. A CBP officer assigned to the primary vehicle inspection area noticed what appeared to be packages concealed under the rear seat of a 1991 a Honda Accord driven by a male 57-year-old Mexican citizen. Officers escorted the subject to a holding area and conducted a secondary inspection on the vehicle. Officers retrieved a total of six packages of marijuana. The drugs weighed more than 34 pounds with an estimated value of $34,390.

The following incident occurred at approximately 3:55 p.m. A CBP officer working the primary pedestrian inspection area at the downtown Calexico port of entry referred an 18-year-old female Mexican citizen applying for entry into the U.S. to the secondary inspection area. The secondary inspection yielded one package of cocaine concealed on her body weighing nearly three pounds with an estimated street value of $22,160.

The final incident occurred immediately afterwards when CBP officers also assigned to the downtown Calexico port of entry apprehended a 19-year-old male Mexican citizen and escorted him to the secondary inspection area. A search revealed one package of cocaine strapped to his body weighing nearly three pounds with an estimated value of $20,080.

“These apprehensions and narcotics seizure are testaments to the diligence of our CBP officers” said Billy Whitford, port director for both Calexico ports of entry. “Despite the varieties of ways criminals attempt to smuggle drugs through our ports, these officers remain ever alert and cognizant to stop them.”

In all incidents the drugs and vehicles were seized by CBP and the subjects were arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for prosecution.

 

Tucson, Ariz. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection U.S. Border Patrol agents, working with the Office of Air and Marine, seized more than 3,400 pounds of marijuana found in two stolen vehicles Tuesday.

Bundles of marijuana that smugglers attempted to conceal with brush.

Willcox, Ariz., agents seized another 200 pounds Wednesday and Sonoita, Ariz., agents discovered 980 pounds early today. Combined, the marijuana seized by Tucson Sector agents is valued at more than $3.6 million.

On Tuesday, OAM air interdiction officers on patrol noticed two suspicious vehicles covered with tarps near Stanfield, Ariz., and contacted Border Patrol agents in the area for support. When agents from the Casa Grande Station arrived, they discovered two pickup trucks containing a total of 159 bundles of marijuana.

Record checks revealed that both vehicles had been reported stolen. The marijuana, valued at more than $2.7 million, was taken to the Casa Grande station for processing. The trucks were turned over to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Yesterday, a canine team from the Willcox station assigned to operations at the Highway 90 checkpoint alerted to the presence of illicit contraband and a vehicle was referred to secondary. Agents at the secondary inspection discovered 200 pounds of marijuana concealed within a compartment. The marijuana, valued at more than $177,000, and the vehicle were seized. The driver was held for prosecution.

Early this morning, an agent assigned to the Sonoita station was working with a handheld infrared camera and spotted a group of suspected illegal aliens. Agents responding to the area discovered 20 bundles of marijuana abandoned it the scrub brush.

The agents searched the area for the subjects but were unable to locate anyone. The marijuana was taken to the Sonoita station for processing. It weighed in at more than 980 pounds, and it is valued at more than $780,000.

The Border Patrol remains vigilant at foiling smugglers attempts to conceal their loads. Cooperation and coordination between the Border Patrol and OAM continues to yield results. The Border Patrol is dedicated to working with all local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies to stem the flow of illicit activity from entering our communities.

From Oct. 1, 2009, to May 31, 2010, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol seized over 712,000 pounds of marijuana exceeding $569 million in value.

 
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