Border Patrol Seeks Public’s Assistance to Combat Illegal Border Activity
HODGDON, Maine (WAGM) -
U.S. Border Patrol is seeking assistance from the public to combat suspected human smuggling activity in and around border areas. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard has the story.
“So for the last couple of months we’ve noticed a significant increase in illicit or illegal cross border activity.”
Mark Phillips, Special Operations Supervisor for the Communications Branch of the Houlton Sector of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol says the number of encounters along the Northern Border has risen significantly. Over the last 2 months there have been around 30 individuals apprehended under various charges related to illegal crossings.
“In previous years some of these Border Patrol Stations would not see 30 apprehensions for the entire year. Aroostook County has 3 stations that patrol, the Houlton Station, the Fort Fairfield Station and the Van Buren Station. Having 30 apprehensions between those 3 stations during an 8 to 12 week period is unusual.”
According to information provided by Customs and Border Protection via the Nationwide Encounters Data Portal, the number of encounters handled by the Houlton Sector, which makes up the entire state of maine is up 10% so far this year compared to this time last year, Philips says for Aroostook County specifically, that number is even greater. With a force of approximately 200 agents and over 600 miles of border to patrol, Phillips is requesting the public’s help.
“The border patrol has always relied on the public to let us know if they see something that is unusual. We have a robust Border Community Liaison Program in the Houlton Sector. What that program does it actually allows the agents to engage directly with border community residents, organizations, NGOs. We encourage the agents to know not only the area but the people who reside in the area and try and foster relationships with them so that we can encourage information sharing.”
Phillips says if you do notice something suspicious, out of the ordinary, or concerning in your community, particularly along the border, you are encouraged to reach out.
“The residents who live in and around the border areas away from the ports of entry, if they see things that they consider to be suspicious that is the activity that we’re trying to drill down on. If the general public does see anything suspicious we’d like them to give us a call”
Phillips hopes that fostering communication between border communities and Border Protection will augment their capabilities, making the border safer for everyone.
To provide USBP with information about suspicious activity in your area call the USBP Houlton Sector Headquarters (24/7): 207-532-6521 Ext. 5
Brian Bouchard, Newssource8
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