Arizona Border: On The Front Lines
Challenges faced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - The Department of Homeland Security depends on U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to accomplish a very important job: preventing terrorists and their weapons from getting into the United States.
We know first hand, their job is much bigger than that.
Assistant Port Director for Tactical Operations at the Nogales Port of Entry Joe Agosttini, tells KGUN9, "in the process of we're going to run into narcotics, fraud documents, false citizenship or bringing products to harm United States."
Agosttini has seen a lot in his 27 years.
"What do you see as going well that you're working on all cylinders right now?," Waddell asked. "I see the officers getting more training in different areas," Agosttini said.
"The job for the CBP officer on the line is difficult because we are looking for a needle in the haystack," said Agosttini.
But they're getting the job done.
New numbers show at all Arizona Ports of Entry in 2012, CBP officers moved through more than 22 million travelers. Stopped more than 6,000, arrested 401 people and seized nearly 96,000 pounds of drugs.
That's thanks to technology and the officers.
They use mirrors and busters to check tire pressure for signs of a stash in the wheels. They look for body language and use cameras, scanners and x-ray machines.
Even so, at Deconcini, officers know they face challenges every day.
"Well if you look at the Mexican side, there are spotters watching what we're doing, how we work, weaknesses, strengths, and they concentrate on weaknesses because that's what they use to bring in something illegal," said Agosttini.
"They have the time, they have the money they're always ahead of us and many times we're trying to catch up to their tech and resources," he said.
Another challenge, the potential danger.
Looking to the future along the Nogales Border, we see Mariposa. The port that is currently expanding. Expected completion: August 2014.
Work along the border is never done, especially in Nogales. The biggest port of entry in Arizona.
This story is part of a KGUN9 On Your Side special called Arizona Border: On The Front Lines.