From the daily archives: Monday, May 23, 2011

Issued by The National Weather Service
Phoenix, AZ

Mon, May 23, 2011, 2:48 AM PDT

Local Radar Map

Updated May 23, 2011, 11:40am PDT

… WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 11 PM PDT THIS EVENING…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PHOENIX HAS ISSUED A WIND ADVISORY… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 11 PM PDT THIS EVENING.

* AFFECTED AREA: IMPERIAL COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST CALIFORNIA… INCLUDING THE IMPERIAL VALLEY AND PORTIONS ALONG INTERSTATE 8 BETWEEN GORDONS WELL AND THE SAN DIEGO COUNTY LINE.

* LOCATIONS INCLUDE: BRAWLEY… CALEXICO… EL CENTRO… AND OCOTILLO.

* TIMING: STRONG GUSTY WESTERLY WINDS WILL LIKELY PEAK LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND CONTINUE TO BLOW THROUGH THE EVENING HOURS.

* WINDS: 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 45 MPH POSSIBLE.

* IMPACTS: TRAVEL MAY BE DIFFICULT… ESPECIALLY ON NORTH-SOUTH ORIENTED ROADS… AND FOR LARGE OR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. SMALL UNSECURED OBJECTS MAY ALSO BECOME AIRBORNE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT SUSTAINED WIND SPEEDS OF BETWEEN 30 AND 40 MPH ARE EXPECTED… OR WIND GUSTS OF BETWEEN 40 AND 58 MPH. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT… ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. IN ADDITION… STRONG WINDS OVER DESERT AREAS COULD RESULT IN BRIEFLY LOWERED VISIBILITIES TO WELL UNDER A MILE AT TIMES IN BLOWING DUST OR BLOWING SAND. USE EXTRA CAUTION.

 

CBP Announces Lane Will Remain Open until Midnight on Weekends.

Otay Mesa, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced today that they are increasing the hours of operation for the Otay Mesa Ready Lane on Saturdays and Sundays.

Beginning Saturday, May 21, the Ready Lane will now operate from 8 a.m. until midnight on Saturdays and Sundays. Previously, the Ready Lane closed at 10 p.m. on these days.

The hours on Monday through Friday will remain the same: 4 a.m. until 8 p.m.

CBP will also be extending the operational hours for the Ready Lane at Otay Mesa for holidays. Over Memorial Day weekend, the Ready Lane will be open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, May 28-30, from 8 a.m. until midnight.

“We are keeping the Ready Lane at Otay Mesa open later in response to increased demand, and hope that these shorter wait times will continue to persuade others to go out and get an RFID-enabled travel document,” said Chris Maston, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego. “With more travelers using these documents, coupled with traffic optimization at the port of entry, we are ensuring travelers experience significant time savings.”

Initial data shows that travelers who use the Ready Lane at Otay Mesa wait, on average, at least 20 minutes less than travelers who are using the general traffic lanes.

Currently, approximately 25 percent of the vehicles that would have used the port of entry’s general traffic lanes, instead use the designated Ready Lanes.

 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa cargo facility seized one and a half tons of marijuana found hidden in a shipment of lettuce during a failed narcotic smuggling attempt Wednesday.

click for hi-res
Marijuana Bundles Hidden Under Lettuce Shipment
Marijuana Bundles Hidden Under Lettuce Shipment

At about 7:15 p.m. on May 18, a 27-year-old male Mexican citizen with a legitimate Border Crossing Card, driving a tractor-trailer with a shipment of lettuce arrived at the border crossing.

The CBP officer referred the driver, truck, and shipment to the dock for a more intensive inspection.

The shipment of lettuce was unloaded onto the dock, and screened by a CBP officer with a narcotic detector dog. The canine alerted to the cargo.

CBP officers discovered cellophane-wrapped packages hidden in the lettuce shipment. In total, CBP officers found 136 packages of marijuana, weighing about 3025 pounds and worth an estimated $1.8 million.

The driver was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. He was booked into the Metropolitan Correctional Center, and his border crossing card was cancelled.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego accepted the case for prosecution.

 

El Centro, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials from the Calexico ports of entry participated in the third annual Imperial Valley Law Enforcement Memorial (IVLEM) Ceremony that took place on Friday, April 29, 2011 on the steps of the Imperial County Courthouse.

Border Patrol Agent rings bell to honor the Memorial of fallen comrades
Ceremonial Bell ringing
Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Members of the community, local elected officials, law enforcement representatives, and family members of fallen officers were in attendance and paid tribute to 38 law enforcement officers from various federal, state, and local agencies that died in the line of duty in Imperial County, California since 1920. The program included remarks from guest speakers, a rider-less horse, roll-call of fallen officers, a rifle salute, a flag folding ceremony and a candlelight vigil.

Law Enforcement Agencies Perform Ceremonial Flag Folding
Ceremonial Flag Folding
Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The Calexico ports of entry Honor Guard, in conjunction with Border Patrol El Centro Sector and the El Centro Police Department, executed the twenty-one gun salute and the flag folding ceremony.

Area Port Director Billy Whitford conducted the roll-call of the fallen officers. With the reading of the names, departments, and end of watch dates, officers from the respective departments rang the bell to symbolize the ultimate sacrifice of the 38 fallen officers.

The ceremony was preceded by a law enforcement motorcade that traveled through the heart of the city. The motorcade consisted of local, county, state and federal agencies to include Office of Field Operations and Border Patrol vehicles.

“I am thankful that our employees dedicated their time and efforts in remembering those who lost their lives while serving and protecting the citizens of our community,” said Port Director Billy Whitford. “It was an honor for CBP to be part of this solemn ceremony which means so much to the family and friends of these fallen heroes.”

The IVLEM organizing committee included Supervisory CBP Officers Martin Cuesta and John Campos.

 

Pine Valley, Calif. – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate 8 checkpoint near Pine Valley arrested a 19-year-old male U.S. citizen yesterday for attempting to smuggle more than 436 pounds of cocaine.

Agents encountered the man at approximately 3:20 p.m., as he arrived at the checkpoint driving a silver 1998 Ford Mustang. During inspection, agents became suspicious of the man’s nervous demeanor and referred him for a secondary inspection. A Border Patrol canine team performed a cursory inspection of the vehicle resulting in a positive alert to the trunk.

Upon further inspection, agents discovered 62 bundles of cocaine in the trunk totaling 436.3 pounds with an estimated street value of $4,363,000.

The suspected smuggler and the illicit drugs were taken into custody and subsequently turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Ford Mustang was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

To prevent illicit smuggling of humans, drugs and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance on major corridors of egress away from our nation’s borders. To report suspicious activity related to border security, please call (619) 498-9900.

 
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