IMPERIAL — With close proximity to the Mexican border, residents in the Imperial Valley are constantly aware of illegal activity that may be coming across border. While it is impossible to reduce all illegal activity, border agents at the El Centro sector provide the best line of defense for the safety and well being of U.S. residents.
El Centro Sector Assistant Chief Patrol agent Joshua Devack informed the public of the border patrol's apprehensions for the month of August in a press conference September 13.
Devack says that work done in this area shows that El Centro is a focal point for the U.S. Border Patrol and the seizures they make here can translate to better tactical techniques nationwide.
"We we wanted to do here today was to put some of those stats in perspective pertaining to the El Centro sector Border Patrol," said Devack during the press conference.
Devack explained how the El Centro sector is leading the nation pertaining to narcotics seizures. Most of these seizures are for methamphetamines, fentanyl and heroin.
El Centro sector border patrol has seized 62 pounds of cocaine, 101 pounds of heroin and 40 pounds of fentanyl in just this year alone.
"The El Centro sector has seen a huge increase from last year pertaining to the amount of seizure we've had in this area," said Devack. "It's important for CBP to focus on areas where high levels of activity occur."
El Centro has long been a point of emphasis for the Border Patrol and has some of the highest activity rates throughout the country.
"El Centro sector has always been one of the priorities for the United States Border Patrol," said Devack. "It's one of the Southwest border sectors and there's been a fair amount of activity here, both in illegal border crossings as well as drug seizures and other illicit activities like human smuggling. Human smuggling organizations exist south of the border and they choose to operate here, so we in effect, have to operate here as well."
Devack has been with the El Centro sector for a little more than three months. Previously he worked with other border patrol sectors in both Washington state and Washington D.C. Devack explained while all three have different procedures, they all share a common goal.
"The border patrol is here to protect and ensure the well-being of our citizens," Devack explained. "Here, we see people trying to cross with illegal narcotics. Up on the norther border, people cross into the U.S. with weapons. In D.C., border patrol is more policy-based rather than implementation. All three are different, but all are there to ensure we keep people who are in this country, and those who come into this country, safe."
Devack said that in his time with CBP, he's been impressed with how the local community and border patrol agents acts as one. "I really enjoy working in this area," said Devack. "I enjoy the people here and the relationship that the El Centro community has with [CBP]."