From the daily archives: Tuesday, April 12, 2011

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry arrested a 74-year-old male attempting to smuggle 172.7 pounds of marijuana Saturday. CBP officers at El Paso area ports confiscated a total of 1,127.74 pounds of marijuana and 18.10 pounds of amphetamines in eight drug busts over the weekend.

“This seizure activity demonstrates our officer’s dedication to keep dangerous drugs off our streets,” said Ana Hinojosa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection director of Field Operations in El Paso. “Their hard work and attention to detail proved worthy in the arrest of a senior citizen attempting to blend in with the thousands of people we process every day.”

The seizure was made Saturday at approximately 12:34 p.m. at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing when a 1989 Chevrolet Scottsdale 1500 pick-up was selected for inspection and CBP drug sniffing dog “Frankie” alerted to the gas tank of the vehicle. CBP officers discovered two large compressed bales concealed in metal containers in the gas tank. The contents of the bales tested positive for marijuana.

CBP officers at the port arrested the driver, Alex Garcia of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents to face federal charges including importation of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He is currently detained without bond at the El Paso County Jail.

The largest marijuana bust was made Sunday at the Santa Teresa port of entry at approximately 12:25 p.m. when a 30-year-old man from Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico driving a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado arrived from Mexico. He told officers he had nothing to declare and that he was going to make some purchases in El Paso. CBP officers selected the vehicle for a gamma-ray exam and identified several anomalies in the appearance of the area of the cab floor. The truck was taken to a separate inspection area where CBP drug sniffing dog “Murphy” alerted and a non-factory compartment was discovered in the cab floor area. CBP officers removed a total of 172 bundles. The contents of the bundles tested positive for marijuana with an approximate weight of 436.04 pounds.

“I am very proud of the great work my frontline officers do everyday, protecting this Nation. They are devotedly aware of their responsibility to remain ever vigilant in protecting the homeland,” said Grace Gomez, Acting port director for CBP in Santa Teresa.

CBP officers at the port arrested the driver, Carlos Fabian Perez Carreon. He was turned over to HSI special agents to face federal charges including importation of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

CBP Field Operations is responsible for securing our borders at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers’ primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation’s food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws.

 

Calexico, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico downtown port of entry seized close to $400,000 dollars in concealed U.S. currency and $761,000 worth of narcotics during outbound and inbound port operations.

The three unrelated incidents took place over the weekend where CBP officers prevented 79 pounds of narcotics entering the U.S. and intercepted $398,269 dollars in concealed currency leaving the U.S.

The first incident occurred at about 6 a.m. on Friday, April 8, when a 28-year-old male Mexican citizen driving a black 1991 Mazda Miata was escorted for further examination after a canine alerted to vehicle as the driver waited for inspection.

click for hi-res
CBP officers discover undeclared currency in spare tire at Calexico port of entry.
CBP officers discover undeclared currency in spare tire at Calexico port of entry.

An intensive inspection of the vehicle led officers to the discovery of 21 wrapped packages of cocaine hidden inside a specially built compartment behind the back rest of the rear seats. The weight of the cocaine was 54 pounds with a street value of approxiimately $486,000.

The driver, a resident of Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for further processing.

The second incident occurred on the same day at about 9:15 p.m. when officers with the port’s Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team conducting outbound operations targeted a 30-year-old male U.S. citizen driving a white 1999 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck for an intensive inspection.

The intensive examination that included a detector dog and the x-ray imaging system led officers to the discovery of 16 wrapped bundles of undeclared currency hidden inside the truck’s spare tire. A total of $395,780 in U.S. currency was retrieved from the spare tire with an additional $2,489 in U.S. currency that was on the driver’s person.

CBP officers arrested the driver and turned him over to the custody of ICE agents for further investigation.

The third incident occurred at about 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, when a canine team was screening vehicles and the canine alerted to a black 2001 Honda Accord as it waited in line for inspection. Both the driver, a 25-year-old female U.S. citizen, and vehicle were escorted for further examination.

An intensive inspection on the vehicle led officers to the discovery of 24 wrapped packages of methamphetamine concealed inside a non-factory compartment underneath the rear seats. The weight of the narcotic was 25 pounds with a street value of approximately $275,000.

CBP officers placed the driver, a resident of Los Angeles, under arrest for the alleged importation of narcotics into the U.S.

In all three incidents, the drivers were transported to the Imperial County Jail where they currently await arraignment.

CBP seized the narcotics, currency and vehicles.

It is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling more than $10,000 to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

 

Congressman Bob Filner announced today that the Brawley based Campesinos Unidos, Inc. has been awarded $1,095,502 for their Head Start program by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“This funding goes directly to helping children get a fair chance at a good education,” said Congressman Filner.  “This is exactly the type of educational programs we should be backing right now because they make a real difference in the lives of so many families.”
Campesinos Unidos, Inc. (CUI) is a private, non-profit organization (501c3) incorporated in 1971. They have acted as both a prime sponsor and subcontractor of numerous Federal, State and Local programs serving the rural poor. Currently, CUI provides a large Child Development-Head Start program, Employment-Training projects, a Self-Help Housing effort, and energy assistance services.

 

By Bob Hurst

Alexi Ogando is making the Texas Rangers forget about their loss of Cliff Lee in the off-season. And so is Matt Harrison and Derek Holland. Through the first 10 games this season, the three starting pitchers were 6-0 as the Rangers went 9-1. It was the team’s best start since going 9-1 in 1989.

Texas’ pitching staff, including last season’s 15-game winner C.J. Wilson and closer Neftali Feliz (40 saves in 2010, four this season) led the majors with a 2.22 ERA after Monday’s 2-0 win at Detroit. Ogando went seven innings in that game, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out four. The Rangers scoreless innings streak reached 25 going into Tuesday’s game.

Ogando, who has a 0.00 ERA, is a converted reliever. He spent his rookie season last year in the bullpen before getting a shot as a starter late in spring training.

It’s not only pitching that has the Rangers on a roll. Rounding out the defending American League champions is a batting lineup that was tied for the major league lead with 18 home runs on Monday and in slugging percentage at .546.

Nelson Cruz hit five homers in the first 10 games while Ian Kinsler hit four. Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli had three each. And Josh Hamilton, who hit 32 home runs last year, hadn’t even gotten started, sitting at zero. But he had six RBIs and led the club in batting with a .316 average.

“We can play whatever the game asks us to play,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We do have guys up and down the lineup that can punch the ball out of the ballpark.”

Against Boston in a season-opening sweep, Texas slugged 11 home runs and outscored the Red Sox 26-11 in three games. In a 12-5 win over Boston on April 2, the Rangers hit four balls out of the park, including Beltre’s grand slam. Against Baltimore on Saturday, Cruz hit a three-run homer in a 13-1 rout.

The Rangers have everything going for them early this season, and if they can keep it going, they could be in the running for another AL pennant.

Rays early slump: On the other hand, Tampa Bay started 1-8 and ranked at the bottom of nearly every major offensive category in the big leagues. The Rays lost their first six games, scoring just one run in five of those contests. Tampa Bay’s first lead of the season came in a five-run ninth inning on Saturday at Chicago. The Rays run total in the 9-7 victory over the White Sox was one more than their total coming into the game.

Things returned to normal on Sunday in a 6-1 loss to the White Sox. And Rays manager Joe Maddon showed his frustration by getting ejected in the sixth inning on a controversial call. After getting thumbed, Maddon put on an act by ejecting all four umpires.

Maddon said his outburst had nothing to do with the Rays’ record.

“I think I would have argued as vehemently if we were 8-1,” Maddon said. “That was not a record argument or frustration argument.”

If anything, Maddon and his players took out their frustration on the Red Sox on Monday night in a 16-5 victory.

Canseco to play, manage: Jose Canseco, who ranks 32nd on the all-time home run list with 462, will be a player-manager for the Yuma Scorpions of the North American League this season. Canseco’s brother, Ozzie Canseco, joins the team as bench coach and hitting coach, and will also play.

Since his major league career ended in 2001, Canseco, who starred for the Oakland A’s and played for six other major league teams, has extended his playing career with  independent minor league clubs, including the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League and the Long Beach Armada of the Golden Baseball League.

StatsWatch: Manny Ramirez, who played briefly with Tampa Bay this season, retired last week rather than face a 100-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy a second time. Here are his career stats:

  • HR —  555
  • RBI — 1,831
  • AVG — .312
  • OBP — .411
  • SLG — .585

Quotable: “I can’t believe it. I thought if you got busted one time, you definitely don’t get busted again. Maybe I’m wrong. Believe me, it shocked us all.” — Rays’ outfielder Johnny Damon on Manny Ramirez’s second drug policy violation.

Diamond Notes: Boston Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz was signed to a four-year contract extension through the 2015 season. The contract is for $30.5 million…St. Louis left-fielder Matt Holliday, who missed seven games while recovering from an appendectomy on April 1, had a hit with two walks in his return in the Cardinals 6-1 win over San Francisco on Sunday…With Manny Ramirez’s retirement, the Braves’ Chipper Jones takes over as the active leader with 207 game-winning RBIs.

Copyright © 2011  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.

 

A suspect in the 2009 killing of a Border Patrol agent has been taken into custody by Mexican authorities.
The “Los Angeles Times” cites a Tijuana police spokesman as saying Marcos Manuel Rodriguez Perez was arrested last night.
Also known as “El Virus,” he is one of three men who allegedly attempted to rob Agent Robert Rosas in a remote area east of San Diego, California.
Rosas was shot several times.
A Mexican police source says Rodriguez is now in U.S. custody.
Rodriguez was captured through a joint effort by the FBI and Mexican police.
Last year, a second suspect in the crime was sentenced to 40 years behind bars.
A third suspect is still being sought.

Murderer of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas Sentenced

San Diego — A courtroom full of Border Patrol agents was present on Thursday morning at U.S. District Court for the sentencing of a teenager who was involved in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas.

Christian Daniel Castro-Alvarez, 17, pled guilty on November 20, 2009 and was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the murder. The arrest and conviction of Castro-Alvarez was made possible through the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California and the FBI San Diego Field Office.

The presence of Border Patrol agents at the sentencing was meant to support the family of Robert Rosas and send a message to the defendant that his brutal act also victimized the larger law enforcement community.

“This brutal act of violence on a U.S. Border Patrol agent cannot and will not be tolerated,” Acting Chief Patrol Agent Richard A. Barlow, of the U.S. Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector, said. “Although Mr. Castro-Alvarez has well earned this long custodial sentence, his punishment will never repay the debt he owes to those he has affected and who grieve the murder of Agent Rosas.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agent Robert W. Rosas, Jr. was Killed While on Routine Duty on the U.S. – Mexico Border in July 2009

SAN DIEGO—Christian Daniel Castro-Alvarez, 17, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge M. James Lorenz to serve 480 months in federal prison based on his guilty plea in the death of Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agent Robert W. Rosas, Jr., U.S. Attorney Karen P. Hewitt for the Southern District of California announced today. Agent Rosas was shot and killed on July 23, 2009, while he was on a routine patrol near San Diego. The defendant previously pleaded guilty to the murder of a federal officer committed in perpetration of a robbery.

U.S. Attorney Hewitt said, “Agent Rosas was tragically murdered in the line of duty as he protected the border and our nation. His proud career as a federal law enforcement officer stood for seeking justice and upholding the rule of law. Because of today’s sentence of imprisonment, the next 40 years the defendant serves in prison shall also echo those important principles—justice and the rule of law—for which Agent Rosas paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

According to the plea agreement, Castro-Alvarez admitted that during the evening of July 23, 2009, he illegally entered the United States for the purpose of robbing a Border Patrol agent of government property. While Agent Rosas was engaged in the performance of his duties, Castro-Alvarez and his co-conspirators lured Agent Rosas out of his vehicle for the purpose of robbing him. During the course of the robbery, Agent Rosas and the defendant struggled over a firearm and Agent Rosas was shot multiple times by the defendant and one or more of the co-conspirators. Agent Rosas died as a result of the shots fired. According to court documents, Castro-Alvarez was a minor at the time the offense was committed, and he voluntarily surrendered to the United States to face criminal charges. The defendant also agreed to transfer proceedings from juvenile disposition to adult criminal prosecution.

“This brutal act of violence on a U.S. Border Patrol agent cannot and will not be tolerated,” Acting Chief Patrol Agent Richard A. Barlow of the U.S. Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector said. “Although Mr. Castro-Alvarez has well earned this long custodial sentence, his punishment will never repay the debt he owes to those he has affected and who grieve the murder of Agent Rosas.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter commented, “Agent Rosas was a brave man who gave his life defending our nation’s borders. Without thoughtful investigative work and cooperation of law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border, today’s sentencing would not have come. Though the death of Agent Rosas was tragic, I am pleased to see this individual brought to justice.”

The investigation was conducted by the FBI. U.S. Attorney Hewitt noted that the agents of the FBI San Diego Field Division deserve special thanks for their swift, professional, and comprehensive action in investigating Agent Rosas’ death. The investigation was assisted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection – U.S. Border Patrol, and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The case was prosecuted in San Diego federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Pettit and Seth Askins.

 
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