From the daily archives: Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Calexico, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico downtown port of entry seized over $1.3 million dollars worth of narcotics in three separate incidents over the Labor Day weekend.

The first seizure occurred at about 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 4, when CBP officers arrested a 36-year-old male Mexican citizen after 58 pounds of cocaine were discovered hidden in the vehicle he was driving.

Drugs seized from Vehicle at Calexico POE

CBP officers with the port’s Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET) were conducting an enforcement operation when a detector dog alerted to a black 2003 Dodge Ram pick-up truck as it waited in line for inspection. Officers then escorted both the driver and vehicle aside for further investigation.

At the secondary inspection area, officers conducted an intensive inspection and discovered 20 wrapped packages of cocaine concealed inside the spare tire of the vehicle. The estimated street value of the narcotic is $464,000.

CBP officers turned the driver, a resident of Mexicali, Baja California, over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for further processing.

The second seizure occurred the following day at about 7:30 a.m. when again officers with the port’s A-TCET were conducting an enforcement operation and a detector dog alerted to a white 1988 Chevrolet pick-up truck as it waited in line for inspection.

Officers escorted both driver and vehicle to the secondary area for further investigation.

An intensive examination led officers to the discovery of 35 wrapped packages of cocaine concealed in a specially built compartment inside the vehicle’s gas tank. The weight of the narcotic was 98 pounds with a street value of $784,000.

The driver, a 46-year-old male Mexican citizen and resident of Mexicali, was arrested and turned over to the custody of ICE agents for further processing.

The third seizure occurred at about 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 6, when a canine team and a CBP officer where conducting an enforcement operation and the canine alerted to a silver 2009 Toyota Corolla as it waited in line for inspection. Officers then escorted the driver, passengers and vehicle to the secondary inspection area for further investigation.

CBP officers conducted an intensive inspection on the vehicle and discovered 112 wrapped packages of marijuana concealed inside a specially built compartment in the trunk area and inside the rear passenger doors. The weight of the narcotic was 140 pounds with an estimated street value of $140,000.

The driver, a 30-year-old male United States citizen, and the passengers, a 24-year-old female U.S. citizen and a 20-year-old male U.S. citizen, were arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and turned over to the custody of ICE agents for further processing.

In all three incidents, the drivers and passengers were transported to the Imperial County jail where they are awaiting arraignment.

CBP placed immigration holds on the Mexican citizens to initiate removal from the United States at the conclusion of their criminal proceedings.

CBP officers seized all three vehicles and narcotics.


9/11 Needs Some Closure; BWCC to Return (Hooray!)

HERE WE ARE TWO DAYS  BEFORE 9-11 and we’re still disappointed that the United States has done little to honor the men and women who died that day.
Ground Zero is still a big hole in the ground, even though  the Federal State and local governments have had NINE YEARS to build a lasting monument to the 21st Century’s “Day that will live  in Infamy.”
Getting a suitable monument is weighted down in politics and petty squabbling.
Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose, even though we have had some elite troops looking for him.
We even have a self-proclaimed bounty hunter who is out on his trail. But to no avail.
At least the Iraq conflict is starting to wind down and some of our soldiers are being sent home.
In Afghanistan we are trying to figure out how to fight guerrilla warfare against gun-toting sheep herders in an effective manner.
The old style of war, with waves and waves of troops backed up by mighty firepower, has proved to be ineffective in bringing  such conflicts  to a close.
The Top Brass at the Pentagon needs to be shaken up. If we spend trillions of dollars to wage war and can’t capture one individual, it’s time to do some house cleaning among the military leadership.
If we could do just a couple of these things, it would finally be a lasting memory to the people who lost their lives on that dreadful day in 2001.
If you want to cut spending take a look at what the military is doing. They are out of control when it comes to spending money and getting results.
CLOSER TO HOME, the Barbara Worth Country is closer to having new owners. Those owners have lots of plans to redo the resort and bring it back to its status as the number one hotel and recreation place in the Valley.
The new owners have talked about changing the name, but we hope they reconsider. Barbara Worth has been a big part of the history of the Valley. Harold Bell Wright’s winter home was located on the grounds of the present country club and honored with a monument on the southeast corner.
Restoring the luster to the place should mean keeping the name that made it famous in the first place.
Either way, though, we look forward to the day when the new country club springs back to life.
There have been some great and memorable events there. And local clubs and civic groups won’t have to be scrambling to find a place to have a party once again. You will know its successful if its at the Barbara Worth Country Club.
Perhaps revitalizing the BWCC can help revitalize the area. Lord knows Holtville could use plenty of help
FOOTBALL! RETURNS TO THE WEEKENDS. It time to get out and support your favorite local team. Don’t just sit on your hands in the stands and eat popcorn. Make some noise. Get worked up over the play of these young men. They’ve been outside practicing and trying out since the second week in August. Anybody with that much stamina deserves your support.
Some of the games they play have as much excitement as some of the college or pro games, if you attend and follow the action.
That goes for  volleyball, tennis and all other athletic endeavors. The teams try hard and love the recognition.
Calipatria was the first Valley school to get started last week with a home game against Julian. Everybody will be playing this weekend, whether it be at  home or away.
Holtville has a unique situation with both a volleyball match and a football game scheduled for the same day.
The football Vikings will be playing Antelope in football at 7 p.m. and the volleyball Vikings will playing Coronado at 6 p.m
That’s this evening.
. Choose your favorite team, watch one and then get in tune with the other. It can be a successful sports even for even the most exuberant fan to maintain.
then pick up a copy of the paper to read about what’s going to happen .
Nobody I can find has this unique combination this year. Stay cool in the gym with volleyball or hot with football.


IMPERIAL, Calif. – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to El Centro Sector and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) coordinated the rescue of two individuals who were stranded for days in the mountains west of El Centro.

On September 3, at approximately 8:30 a.m., El Centro Sector communications received a call from CHP in regards to the lost men.  CHP provided GPS coordinates from the subject’s cellular phone that identified the general location of the two lost men.

Border Patrol agents and CBP air assets from the Office of Air and Marine were provided the information and conducted a search of the immediate area.  Agents encountered the two men one mile south of Interstate 8 near Ocotillo, Calif.  Both individuals were offered but declined medical attention.

Agents determined that the two men were illegally present in the U.S.  Both illegal aliens were arrested, processed according to El Centro Sector guidelines and returned to their country of origin.

On September 4, at approximately 12:45 p.m., a Toyota mini-van being driven by a United States citizen approached the primary inspection lane of the checkpoint located on Highway 86.  After the driver consented to have a canine team perform a cursory inspection of the vehicle, he was referred to the secondary inspection area.  The canine team alerted to the area behind the rear door of the mini-van.  A large-scale imaging system (LSIS) was then used to perform a non-intrusive inspection (NII) of the vehicle and the scan revealed anomalies in the area where the canine team had alerted.

Agents uncovered several cellophane wrapped packages containing marijuana hidden within an aftermarket compartment located behind the rear door.  The marijuana has an estimated value of approximately $56,000.

The driver, mini-van, and marijuana were turned over to the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office.

On September 6, at approximately 5:40 a.m., the driver and passenger of a Dodge mini-van approached the primary inspection lane of the Highway 86 checkpoint.  The mini-van was referred to the secondary inspection area after the driver consented to a NII of his vehicle.  During secondary inspection, a LSIS scan of the mini-van revealed anomalies in the walls and roof.  Indio Station agents uncovered a marijuana load with an estimated value of more than $170,000.

The driver, passenger, marijuana, and vehicle were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.


California Recovery Task Force Director Rick Rice today issued the following statement after the United States Department of Energy awarded $50 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funds to recipients across California to boost industrial carbon capture and storage research and development:

“California continues to be a leader in the development of clean technologies, and these funds will help our companies continue their critical investment in the industry. I congratulate the recipients from California, as these awards will work towards reducing emissions and building a more sustainable future for our children, while creating immediate jobs for Californians.”

A total of $575 million in Recovery Act projects in 15 states were announced by the Department of Energy. Below is a complete list of the selected recipients from California:

Clean Energy Systems, Inc.: ($30,000,000) Rancho Cordova, CA – Oxy-Fuel Turbo Machinery Development for Energy Intensive Industrial Applications. A first-of-a-kind commercial scale oxy-fuel turbine will be designed, developed, and tested. The oxy-fuel turbine can use a diverse set of industrial fuels including refinery off gases, gasified pet coke, and natural gas to capture more than 99 percent of the produced CO2.

Membrane Technology and Research, Inc.: ($15,000,000) Menlo Park, CA – Pilot Testing of a Membrane System for Post-Combustion CO2 Capture. Membrane Technology and Research (MTR) and partners will demonstrate a cost-effective membrane process to separate CO2 from industrial- and utility-scale processes including boilers, cement manufacturing, steel and aluminum production and chemical refining. MTR will design, construct and test a 1 MWe equivalent gas flow membrane skid capable of 90 percent CO2 capture from a slipstream of coal-fired flue gas. A six-month field test using the test skid will be conducted at Arizona Public Service’s (APS) Cholla Power Plant. Additionally, a small slipstream test will be performed at the National Carbon Capture Center to validate membrane performance. This project will provide sufficient performance data to allow a thorough technical and economic evaluation of the membrane capture process and will verify the relative potential of this approach.

Terralog Technologies USA Inc.: ($5,000,000) Arcadia, CA – Characterization of Pliocene and Miocene Formations in the Wilmington Graben, Offshore Los Angeles, for Large Scale Geologic Storage of CO2. Terralog Technologies will characterize the Pliocene and Miocene sediments in the Wilmington Graben for high volume CO2 storage. Characterization will include expanded seismic acquisition; drilling a characterization well; extending the depth of another characterization well; and expanding the associated geologic, geomechanical, and flow models. This project will benefit local industry by identifying significant industrial sources in the region; evaluating the costs associated with transport to the geologic storage site; and characterizing the performance of the targeted geologic storage formations.

Governor Schwarzenegger created the California Recovery Task Force to track the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding coming into the state; work with President Barack Obama’s administration; help cities, counties, non-profits, and others access the available funding; ensure that the funding funneled through the state is spent efficiently and effectively; and maintain a Web site ( that is frequently and thoroughly updated for Californians to be able to track the stimulus dollars.


Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) announced today that through August 24, 2010, more than $3.5 million in federal and state Public Assistance funds have been awarded to help the Imperial Irrigation District (IID), Imperial Valley Resource Management Agency (IVRMA), Seeley County Water District and the El Centro Regional Medical Center cover emergency response and repair costs stemming from the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck the area on April 4, 2010.
The $3,553,790.08 approved to date represents the federal and state shares of the $3,790,709.41 in eligible earthquake emergency response and repair costs the two disaster agencies have obligated so far to the four Imperial County-based agencies. Under the Public Assistance program, FEMA reimburses successful applicants for 75 percent of their eligible expenses. In California, Cal EMA pays 18.75 percent of the eligible costs incurred by city and county agencies and special districts, with local agencies picking up the remaining 6.25 percent.
The recipient agencies became eligible for Public Assistance funding from FEMA and Cal EMA on May 7, 2010, when President Barack Obama approved Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s request on behalf of Imperial County for a major disaster declaration after a preliminary damage assessment was conducted by representatives of FEMA, Cal EMA and local government.
“FEMA and Cal EMA recognize that the earthquake has had a significant impact on the budgets of many agencies serving Imperial County,” said FEMA Region IX Administrator Nancy Ward and Cal EMA Secretary Matthew Bettenhausen. “The federal and state reimbursements approved to date will save the recipient agencies as much as 93.75 percent.”
Because most federal and state disaster funds are provided after repair work has been completed and documentation has been provided, the funds approved to date represent only a portion of the disaster assistance some agencies will receive, federal and state disaster officials said.
The $3,553,790.08 approved for IID, IVRMA, Seeley County Water District and El Centro Regional Medical Center represents nearly 33 percent of the $10,781,800.75 in federal and state reimbursements approved by FEMA and Cal EMA through August 24 for government agencies, special districts, educational institutions and other eligible applicants throughout Imperial County.
IID will receive $3,504,178.34 in reimbursements to help cover $3,737,790.23 in eligible costs related to 26 projects. The federal and state reimbursements include allocations of $697,585.31 to help IID cover $744,091 in repairs to the All American, Evergreen, Fern and North Date canals and $481,015.78 to help cover part of the $513,083.49 in eligible costs related to repair work on the Central Main Canal, the Dogwood Canal and other IID facilities.
To date, federal and state disaster officials also have approved $13,213.85 in reimbursements to help the El Centro Regional Medical Center cover $14,094.77 in eligible costs related to the repair/replacement of a physical therapy trailer.
FEMA and Cal EMA also have approved reimbursements totaling $31,842.40 to help the Seeley County Water District cover $33,965.23 in eligible costs related to repair work on a damaged water main and $4,555.49 to help IVRMA cover $4,859.19 in eligible debris removal costs.

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