U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processes all goods, vehicles, and people entering and exiting the United States. CBP officers intercept narcotics and other contraband, improperly classified merchandise, unlicensed technology and material, weapons, ammunition, fugitives, undocumented immigrants, and unreported currency at America’s 329 international ports of entry (POEs).

United States Border Patrol (USBP) agents are assigned the mission of securing the border against all threats between the POEs along the over 8,000 miles of land and coastal border. These threats include criminal/undocumented aliens, drug smugglers, potential terrorists, wanted criminals, and persons seeking to avoid inspection at the designated POEs. CBP’s drug interdiction activity includes staffing 35 permanent and 140 tactical checkpoints nationwide. CBP checkpoints utilize experienced agents, canine teams, technology and shipper-CBP partnerships to detect and apprehend the above mentioned threats. Additionally, agents patrol targeted border areas that are frequent entry points for the smuggling of drugs and people into the Unites States.

Since its creation, CBP has also been charged with the border regulatory functions of passport control and agriculture inspections in order to provide comprehensive, seamless border control services. This division of responsibilities is intended to simplify border security operations and is termed: "One face at the border." CBP is the nation’s first line of defense against the introduction of narcotics and dangerous drugs from foreign sources.

International Training and Assistance

As part of its efforts to extend the nation’s zone of security beyond U.S. ports of entry, CBP works with other U.S. government and foreign government partners to provide a wide array of short-term and long-term technical training and assistance to countries throughout the world. These programs are designed to standardize and build the capacity of foreign organizations to implement more effective customs trade operations, border policing, and immigration inspection.

CBP coordinates and presents over 200 technical assistance programs to thousands of foreign participants each year. Training and technical assistance programs target the full range of border control and commercial operations, including: WMD training, anti-narcotics, port security, integrity, supply chain security, and commercial operations. The majority of these programs take place outside the United States, although CBP also hosts training events at specific U.S. ports of entry.

The primary areas in which training and assistance are provided are:

  • International narcotics and crime control (International Law Enforcement Academies, or ILEA);
  • Non-proliferation, export control and related border security (EXBS);
  • Commercial operations (Trade Enforcement);
  • Private sector partnership programs (WCO-World Customs Organizaton);
  • Immigration programs (Fraudulent Document, Identifying Imposters); and
  • Anti-corruption programs (Integrity Training, Anti-Corruption Awareness).

In 2015, CBP provided technical training and assistance in support of the ILEA-International Law Enforcement Academy programs currently operating in Bangkok, Budapest, Gaborone, San Salvador, and Ghana. CBP supported ILEA programs by developing and conducting core and specialized training on a variety of topics, including: Land Border Interdiction; Contraband Concealment Techniques; International Controlled Deliveries and Drug Investigations (conducted jointly with the Drug Enforcement Administration); Complex Financial Investigations (conducted jointly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement); and Customs Forensics Lab capabilities and techniques.

In Fiscal Year 2015, CBP provided 222 technical assistance and capacity building sessions in 52 countries for foreign partners, including 22 courses at the ILEAs.

International Visitors Program: The State Department’s International Visitors Program can provide an opportunity for foreign customs officials and other foreign officials working on contraband enforcement issues to consult with their U.S. counterparts and appropriate high level managers in CBP Headquarters. International visitors can also participate in on-site tours of selected U.S. ports and field sites to observe actual CBP operations.

In Fiscal Year 2015, CBP made arrangements for 457 visits for over 2,500 officials from 90 countries. These visits were sponsored by the Department of State, Department of Defense, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, various State National Guard Units, U.S. Embassies, and other components of the Department of Homeland Security.

Port of Entry Interdiction Training: The correct approach to border interdiction varies with border environments, i.e., land, seaport, rail and airport. Training has been designed for the problems encountered and interdiction techniques useful for each type of operation. Each training class is normally five days in duration and is comprised of interactive classroom discussion and practical exercises using actual CBP border facilities. In addition to port of entry operations, CBP provides specialized U.S. Border Patrol training in techniques used by smugglers who do not use official ports of entry to cross borders, but who attempt to smuggle contraband in lightly patrolled green border areas.

International Bulk Currency Smuggling Training: With an increased enforcement focus on money laundering, organized criminals and terrorists have turned to bulk cash smuggling to move valuables across borders. Bulk Currency Smuggling training assists foreign government enforcement personnel in identifying techniques used by bulk currency smugglers. Further, it helps them to design and implement programs to counter that threat, resulting in seizures of millions of dollars in the proceeds of crime.

Overseas Enforcement Training: Overseas Enforcement Training encompasses a curriculum which includes Border Enforcement Training; Supply Chain Security; Detection, Interdiction and Investigation; Concealment Methods; Bulk Currency Smuggling; False and Fraudulent Documents; Train-the-Trainer; Anti-Corruption; Targeting and Risk Management; Hazardous Materials; and X-ray Systems. These courses can also be conducted at foreign ports of entry. They include both basic training and refresher training/mentoring abroad for graduates of training at U.S. port facilities. CBP hopes that participation in this training will assist in establishing regional and global associations of border control officials who share concerns about transnational criminal networks and who will cooperate in their dismantling. In addition, at the request of the State Department’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, CBP’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) conducts training of foreign law enforcement agencies in an effort to intervene early in the drug smuggling process, focused on South and Central American countries.

CBP Attachés, Representatives and Advisors and Special Customs’ Programs: CBP deploys a growing network of attachés, representatives and advisors who serve abroad in U.S. Embassies and consulates, or directly for foreign customs departments. These personnel work closely with CBP’s foreign counterparts in the on-going effort to counter drug smuggling. Attachés have a broad mandate, including enforcement and investigative activities on behalf of CBP. They also exchange expert information with foreign counterparts, improving the effectiveness of law enforcement activity, policies, and resources relating to border enforcement. Their efforts help to ensure that enforcement cooperation is seamless across borders and that the battle against smuggling is effective.

Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements: CBP is the lead negotiator of Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements (CMAAs). CMAAs are negotiated with foreign governments and provide for mutual assistance in the enforcement of customs-related laws. Under the provisions of CMAAs, CBP provides assistance to its foreign counterparts, and receives assistance from them in an exchange of information that facilitates the enforcement of each country’s laws. The Agreements have a high level of flexibility that allow parties to quickly communicate concerns and requests to each other. There are currently 76 CMAAs in force, with five being signed during Fiscal Year 2015 – Costa Rica, Gabon, Malaysia, Senegal, and Singapore.