U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent Andy Hendrix, based in HSI’s Nashville, Tennessee office, recently accompanied a group of Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) troopers to South Texas for a week of training at the Hidalgo port of entry, operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
CBP’s training program at the port focuses on helping state and local law enforcement become more familiar with current trends being used by smugglers to bring people or contraband into the United States illegally. Knowledge such as this can be useful during routine side-of-the-road stops as well as in a targeted smuggling operation. The weeklong training included a visit to the agency’s seizure lot where the officers could see first-hand several hundred seized vehicles featuring an assortment of concealment techniques designed for smuggling.
The group of eight THP troopers was in Texas July 18-22, 2016, and during their training they were able to assist CBP in what is now the largest illegal drug seizure for that specific port when nearly 11,000 pounds of marijuana was discovered inside a shipment of hollow balls that were declared as fruit at the port of entry. In addition, one of the troopers made an ammunition seizure during the training that resulted in a federal arrest.