<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> <!-- saved from url=(0068)http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/newsreleases/articles/070601harlingen.htm --> <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><IW_PT name="Element Information" /><HTML><HEAD><TITLE>ICE, CBP make joint significant ammunition and assault-rifle seizure</TITLE> <META content="New Release" name=category> <META content=2007-06-01 name=date> <META content=TX name=state> <META content=Harlingen name=city> <META content="Detention and Removal</head>" name=type><!-- STYLE --><LINK media=screen href="ICE1jun07_files/box-model.css" type=text/css rel=stylesheet><LINK media=screen href="ICE1jun07_files/text-styles.css" type=text/css rel=stylesheet><LINK media=print href="ICE1jun07_files/print.css" type=text/css rel=stylesheet><!-- END STYLE --><LINK media=screen href="ICE1jun07_files/p7tbm_basic_01.css" type=text/css rel=stylesheet> <SCRIPT language=JavaScript src="ICE1jun07_files/ice_js_funcs.js" type=text/javascript></SCRIPT> <META http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=unicode"><!-- End ICEHEAD --><!-- End Top Menu Bar --> <META content="MSHTML 6.00.2900.3059" name=GENERATOR></HEAD> <BODY onload=P7_initTBM(1,0,1,1,300,1)> <DIV id=pagecontainer><!-- START: Begin Top Banner --> <DIV id=banner><A href="http://www.ice.gov/index.htm"><IMG id=bannerlogo height=74 alt="ICE Logo" src="ICE1jun07_files/ice_logo.gif" width=240 border=0></A> <IMG id=printlogo height=80 alt="ICE Print Logo" src="ICE1jun07_files/ice_printerfriendly1.gif" width=179 border=0><A class=skipnav title="Skip to content" href="http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/newsreleases/articles/070601harlingen.htm#bodycontent"><IMG class=skipnav title="Skip to content" height=10 src="ICE1jun07_files/spacer.gif" width=10 border=0></A><!-- --> <UL id=bannernav> <LI class=first><A href="http://www.ice.gov/index.htm#bodycontent">Skip Navigation</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/">Home</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/about/sitemap.htm">Site Map</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/espanol/about/index.htm">Espaol</A> </LI></UL> <DIV id=searchbox> <FORM action=http://www.ice.gov/exec/whereis/query.asp method=post><LABEL for=searchstring>Search</LABEL> <INPUT type=hidden value=Search name=Action> <INPUT id=SearchString maxLength=256 name=SearchString> <INPUT class=goButton type=submit value=Go name=GO> </FORM></DIV></DIV></FORM><!-- START: Navigation Bar --> <DIV id=p7TBM> <DIV id=p7TBMroot> <DIV id=p7TBMrootbox> <UL class=p7TBMtext> <LI><A id=p7TBMt01 href="http://www.ice.gov/index.htm">Home </A> <LI><A id=p7TBMt02 href="http://www.ice.gov/about/index.htm">About Us </A> <LI><A id=p7TBMt03 href="http://www.ice.gov/partners/index.htm">Partners </A> <LI><A id=p7TBMt04 href="http://www.ice.gov/sevis/index.htm">International Students </A> <LI><A class=p7TBMdown id=p7TBMt05 href="http://www.ice.gov/pi/index.htm">Public Information </A> <LI><A id=p7TBMt06 href="http://www.ice.gov/careers/index.htm">Careers </A> <LI><A id=p7TBMt07 href="http://www.ice.gov/espanol/about/index.htm">Espaol </A><BR></LI></UL></DIV></DIV> <DIV style="FONT-SIZE: 1px; WIDTH: 100%; HEIGHT: 3px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #669900"></DIV><!--[if lte IE 6]> <STYLE>#p7TBM DIV { HEIGHT: 1% } #p7TBM UL { HEIGHT: 1% } #p7TBM A { HEIGHT: 1% } </STYLE> <![endif]--></DIV><!-- STOP: Navigation Bar --><!-- STOP: Begin Top Banner --><!-- START: Column A --> <DIV id=column-a> <DIV id=sectionnav> <UL> <LI class=navfocus><A href="http://www.ice.gov/pi/index.htm">Public Information</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/pi/topics/index.htm">Topics of Interest</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/newsreleases/index.htm">News Releases</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/factsheets/index.htm">Fact Sheets</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/testimonies/index.htm">Speeches &amp; Testimonies</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/exec/signup/index.asp">Email Sign Up</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/pi/newsletters.htm">Newsletters</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/pi/faqs.htm">FAQs</A> </LI></UL></DIV></DIV><!-- STOP: Column A --> <DIV id=column-d> <DIV id=mission><IMG style="FLOAT: right" height=29 src="ICE1jun07_files/mission_statement_header.gif" width=500> <DIV id=print-email style="FLOAT: right"> <DIV id=img-print><A onmouseover="self.status='Print friendly version of this page.';return true;" title="print friendly version of this page." onmouseout="self.status='';return true;" href="javascript:PrintThisPage();">Print</A></DIV></DIV><BR><BR> <H1>News Releases</H1></DIV><A name=bodycontent></A><!-- CONTENTSTART --> <P align=right><STRONG>June 1, 2007</STRONG></P> <H1 align=center>ICE, CBP make joint significant ammunition and assault-rifle seizure<BR><EM>Enforcement activity part of the Rio Grande Valley "BEST" initiative</EM></H1> <P> <P>HARLINGEN, Texas - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Rio Grande Valley Border Enforcement Security Task force (BEST) members and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) yesterday arrested four Mexican men for attempting to smuggle ammunition and high-powered rifles through the Pharr Port of Entry.</P> <P>Jose Hernandez, 50, and Luis Hernandez, 18, were spotted Wednesday by BEST team members purchasing ammunition from a number of McAllen, Texas, stores. After making their purchases, both drove to an undisclosed nearby location to load the ammunition onto a tractor-trailer driven by Fernando Venegas, 48. A short time later, Venegas also allegedly attempted to smuggle assault rifles as well. During a routine inspection of the vehicle, CBP officers detected discrepancies inside the vehicle's sleeper cab and discovered more than 3,700 rounds of ammunition and several dozen assault rifles. Venegas was arrested without incident at the port. Also arrested for his involvement in the criminal activity was Pedro Lopez-Lopez.</P> <P>A federal judge in McAllen yesterday charged all four with violating the Arms Export Control Act, Gun Control Act of 1968, conducting a firearms business without a license, and conspiracy. All four will remain in federal custody until the investigation is completed.</P> <P>"The arrest of these four suspects demonstrates the BEST team's dedication to pursue those who pose a threat to public safety and the well being of our communities," said Janice Ayala, acting special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in San Antonio. "We will continue to target criminal organizations, and ensure compliance with our immigration and customs laws and make certain that our nation's borders are secure at all times."</P> <P>David Higgins, CBP Port Director for Pharr and Hidalgo commended his officers for doing an excellent job. "This is a significant enforcement action and is an example of what we do best."</P> <P>The Rio Grande Valley's BEST task force is a Department of Homeland Security intelligence driven, interagency federal and state and local taskforce composed of special agents and officers from: ICE; CBP; Social Security Administration's Office of Inspector General; the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the FBI; Cameron County Sheriff's Office; the Harlingen Police Department; and other state and local law enforcement agencies.</P> <P><STRONG><U>"BEST" BACKGROUND</U></STRONG><BR>The RGV BEST team, now based in the ICE office in Harlingen, Texas, was first established in Laredo, Texas, in July 2005. The BEST Laredo team was formalized by the Department of Homeland Security in response to significantly increased border crime and violence in the south Texas border area, specifically in the adjacent border cities of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and Laredo, Texas. This crime increase has been attributed to the ongoing battle between the Gulf and the Sinaloa drug cartels.</P> <P>The drug cartels' struggle for power was so marked in its use of violence, extortion and corruption, it resulted in destabilizing the city of Nuevo Laredo. The BEST teams (also located in, El Paso, Arizona and California) target the primary criminal activity or criminal threats identified in their respective areas of responsibilities.</P> <P>The Laredo BEST team remains focused on eliminating violent crime attributed to cross-border smuggling activity by developing and/or improving existing working partnerships with U.S. agencies (primarily CBP, ATF, DEA, FBI and Laredo PD) and Mexican intelligence and law enforcement agencies (PFP and CISEN), which are all BEST participants.</P> <P>This international collaboration has already resulted in impressive arrests and contraband seizures, on both sides of the border. The Laredo BEST team has been directly responsible for deporting individuals wanted for murder and horrific acts of violence, on both sides of the border. Additionally, it has resulted in revoking or not issuing visas to individuals suspected or confirmed to be involved in large-scale criminal activity.</P> <P>Since its inception, the Laredo BEST team has been responsible for 74 criminal arrests, which include seven individuals wanted for murders in Laredo, and three in Mexico. Also, the task force has been responsible for seizing: more than $4 million dollars, 1049 lbs. of marijuana, 355 lbs. of cocaine, 42 assault rifles, 12 live hand grenades and/or improvised explosive devices (IEDs), five shotguns, 25 handguns, eight silencers, significant amounts of gun parts and 1 1/2 pounds of methamphetamines. Additionally, components to make over 100 more IEDs have been seized.</P> <P>In Mexico, Proyecto Frontera Norte attributes the following statistics to their partnership with ICE: 97 criminal arrests, 69 undocumented immigrants apprehensions, and 111 firearms, 146 magazines, 6838 rounds of ammunition, 44 vehicles, more than 1100 lbs. of marijuana, $34,564 and more than 237,880 pesos seized.</P> <P></P> <P align=center>-- ICE --</P><!-- CONTENTEND --><!-- START FOOT NOTE --> <TABLE borderColor=#000066 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width=300 bgColor=#ffffff background=ICE1jun07_files/070601harlingen.htm border=1> <TBODY> <TR> <TD> <P class=newsfooter>U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was established in March 2003 as the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE is comprised of five integrated divisions that form a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. </P></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><BR> <P id=modified>&nbsp;&nbsp;Last Modified: <SCRIPT language=JavaScript type=text/javascript> function dayofWeek(day) { switch( day ) { case 0: s = "Sunday"; break; case 1: s = "Monday"; break; case 2: s = "Tuesday"; break; case 3: s = "Wednesday"; break; case 4: s = "Thursday"; break; case 5: s = "Friday"; break; case 6: s = "Saturday"; break; default: s = "Unknownday" } return s; } function monthofYear(mon) { switch( mon ) { case 0: s = "January"; break; case 1: s = "February"; break; case 2: s = "March"; break; case 3: s = "April"; break; case 4: s = "May"; break; case 5: s = "June"; break; case 6: s = "July"; break; case 7: s = "August"; break; case 8: s = "September"; break; case 9: s = "October"; break; case 10: s = "November"; break; case 11: s = "December"; break; default: s = "Unknownmonth" } return s; } lastmod = document.lastModified // get string of last modified date lastmoddate = Date.parse(lastmod) // convert modified string to date if(lastmoddate == 0){ // unknown date (or January 1, 1970 GMT) document.writeln("Unknown") } else { d = new Date(lastmod); day=dayofWeek(d.getDay()) mon=monthofYear(d.getMonth()) dte=d.getDate() year=d.getFullYear() document.write(" ", day + ", " + mon + " " + dte + ", " + year); } </SCRIPT> </P></DIV><!-- STOP: Column D --><!-- START: Footer --> <DIV id=footer> <UL> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/about/index.htm">About Us</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/partners/index.htm">Partners</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/sevis/index.htm">International Students</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/pi/index.htm">Public Information</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/careers/index.htm">Careers</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/index.htm">Home</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/about/sitemap.htm">Site Map</A> <LI><A onclick="window.open('http://www.dhs.gov', 'window_name', 'toolbar=no, location=no, status=yes, menubar=yes, scrollbars=yes, resizable=yes, width=600, height=400'); return false" href="http://www.dhs.gov/">DHS</A> <LI><A onclick="window.open('http://firstgov.gov', 'window_name', 'toolbar=no, location=no, status=yes, menubar=yes, scrollbars=yes, resizable=yes, width=600, height=400'); return false" href="http://www.usa.gov/">USA.gov</A> <LI><A onclick="window.open('/about/legal.htm#foia', 'window_name', 'toolbar=no, location=no, status=yes, menubar=yes, scrollbars=yes, resizable=yes, width=600, height=400'); return false" href="http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/newsreleases/articles/070601harlingen.htm#">FOIA</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/about/legal.htm">Privacy &amp; Usuage Policy</A> <LI><A href="http://www.ice.gov/espanol/about/index.htm">Espa~</UL> <P>U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)</P></DIV><!-- STOP: Footer --></DIV></A><script type="text/javascript"> var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); </script><script type="text/javascript"> var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-3263347-1"); pageTracker._initData(); pageTracker._trackPageview(); </script><script src="http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript"> _uacct = "UA-3263347-1"; urchinTracker(); </script> </body></HTML>