Border force chalks up early successes

| 04/03/2019 | 18 Comments
Cayman News Service

Customs and Border Control Agency officer

(CNS): The new Customs and Border Control (CBC) Agency arrested eleven people for the possession of drugs, guns and ammunition during its first month of operations. It also issued a dozen fines to individuals who tried to dodge duty payments, and refused entry to nine others for lying about their immigration status or not having the correct documents. CBC Deputy Director Jeff Jackson, who has responsibility for the Enforcement Portfolio, said officers are using a variety of techniques and strategies to intercept drugs, unreported currency, weapons, altered documents, illegal or prohibited immigrants, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products.

“The momentous duty of ensuring that we efficiently facilitate legitimate travel and trade without compromising security, rests upon the shoulders of our CBC officers, and now with our collective powers and skills, the CBC is stronger than ever before,” he said.

One of the most frequent seizures officers are making is ammunition that many travellers from the United States seem to overlook in luggage. On five different occasions last month officers found bullets in bags and arrested the individuals concerned.

One woman who visited Cayman on a cruise ship was arrested and has since been charged with possession of an unlicensed gun and ammunition after officers found the weapon in a piece of lost luggage that was forwarded to her here.

Customs officers also arrested one man after finding hash oil in his luggage after he arrived on a flight from Florida.

Thanking his CBC officers for their diligence, the director of the new agency, Charles Clifford, said his officers were doing outstanding work.

“As we pursue those involved in border control crimes through targeted enforcement and investigative action, we will continue to increase our capabilities through enhanced training and appropriate equipment,” he said. “Our focus is on intercepting those passengers and importers with criminal intent, or who are in breach of our laws, and we are simultaneously facilitating legitimate passengers, baggage and cargo.”

The first month for the agency follows a year of successful interceptions at the airport by the previous relevant units and a record-breaking collection of duty for the public purse. Preliminary numbers for 2018 shows that CI$3,151,738 in revenue was collected by customs officers at the airport last year, compared to CI$2,888,666 in 2017

In an effort to expedite the duty declaration system at the Owen Roberts International Airport and enable border control officers to focus more on security threats, the customs Green Channel/Red Channel system was introduced in June 2018.

As well as making it easier for travellers arriving without goods to declare, officers also detected people attempting to evade duty and imposed fines totalling CI$58,161 during the last six months alone, which was a significant jump from the fines and penalties imposed for revenue offences in 2017, which totalled CI$22,051.

In 2018, airport border control officers (formerly with the Department of Immigration) refused entry to 126 people, almost double the 68 who were refused entry in 2017, making it the largest amount since 2005.

“Due to greater reliance on intelligence-led approaches, such as trend analysis and information exchange with our security and law enforcement partners, officers on the frontline refused entry to the largest number of persons since 2005,” Clifford said, “We have to be ever vigilant, paying attention to more than just the obvious to ensure we tackle illegal immigration and activities, enforce trade compliance and enhance public safety and border security.”

Throughout 2018, 63 people were arrested by officers who now make up the Border Control and Enforcement Division, which was formerly the Customs Department, for various drug and weapon offences, including importation, possession with intent to supply and conspiracy to import a controlled substance. The officers also conducted a total of 46 joint operations with the Department of Immigration and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

The proactive patrols and joint operations, which mostly targeted individuals involved with drugs and weapons activities, resulted in several hundred pounds of drugs and multiple firearms seized by officers. In addition, more than CI$250,000 in cash, suspected to be used in illegal activities, was confiscated with the aid of K-9 detector dogs at both the airport and private residences.

Other operations included the targeting of illegal immigrants and individuals in violation of the Immigration Law with the former DOI’s Enforcement Division. Throughout 2018, enforcement officers investigated 559 cases. With the assistance from other uniform agencies, the Enforcement Division also led 28 deportation and repatriation operations during 2018.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who now oversees the new border control agency, having added the customs element to his growing portfolio of responsibility, applauded the success of the new agency.

“The 2018 results reflect a great deal of significant progress, and I applaud the success of our border control officers and the integral role they continue to play as a leader in public safety,” he said. “Their dedication and drive is exceptional, and I am confident the agency will continue to work hard to maintain this momentum and perform at even higher levels to keep our country safe.”

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Category: Border Control, Crime, Customs

Comments (18)

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  1. A says:

    Fth’d up the week supply.

  2. anonymous says:

    CBC taking credit for discovering all these bullets, but they were found in the regular security searches, do these bag searchers count as CBC officers for surely they are at the bottom of the ladder.

  3. Knot S Smart says:

    Next thing you know Donald Trump will be asking our CBP to train their guards on the U.S. / Mexico border…

  4. Anonymous says:

    What was entering the Cayman Islands before the new CBC? Most be new officers?

  5. Anonymous says:

    The war on drugs is a farce another part of the authoritarian right’s attempts to reduce personal liberties in the name of arbitrary morality usually linked to their religious beliefs

    The only way to eliminate the black market is to legalize and regulate the product
    There is a reason why speakeasies no longer exist
    Drug cartels and gangs could easily be made a thing of the past, but people are too busy being the morality police

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    • Anonymous says:

      How ironic is it that we allow government workers paid time and a designated place on the compound to smoke nicotine laced cigarettes, but let me plant and brew some natural cannabis tea and suddenly I’m a criminal??

      The alcohol, tobacco, paper and pharmaceutical companies have bought political influence for almost a century to prohibit this natural competition!

  6. Anonymous says:

    World Class Civil Service thank you CBC

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Intercepting drugs will have only one effect: Increase of the price of it.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    C.B.C’s & security personnel’s work clearly illustrates just how much the average U.S. origin traveller is able to pay attention to a relatively small detail ; checking ones bag for a bullet before boarding a commercial aircraft , on an international flight .Just how stupid are these people?

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful, good job keep up the good work.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    These are fabricated numbers as majority of these finds are by the security checks when people/tourists are leaving etc. and then the matter is then handed over to Customs for processing a bullet! (still considered a firearm). Question is how did they get it pass the USA TSA especially when they had multiple flights using the same luggage!

    When is BCA going to report some real finds like importation of the real stuff drugs based on tips and real drug busts that’s what I want to hear.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    How much is the fine for attempting to evade duty?

    58,161 fined to a dozen people is close to a $5,000 fine?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    THIS IS GREAT! Good job

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Good for you! Keep it up! Much better airport experience now than it used to be.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    go guys go…keep up great work!☺

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