- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2015

High-risk rail cargo shipments might have crossed into the U.S. without being properly checked out by border patrol agents, a watchdog said Thursday.

Customs and Border Protection agents at some locations along the borders with Mexico and Canada were incorrectly identifying which railroad shipments to investigate. That means some high-risk shipments might have slipped through the cracks despite indicators — such as the cargo weight — that they should have been examined, said the agency’s internal watchdog, the inspector general.

“CBP may have failed to target or properly examine rail shipments that were at an increased risk to contain contraband or dangerous materials,” the inspector general said. “In addition, CBP has no assurance that decisions to release these high-risk shipments into U.S. commerce were appropriate.”

Investigators noted that along some rail lines, border protection agents were only using handheld radiation detectors to scan packages instead of larger, more powerful units. And one port of call lacked large radiation detecting equipment all together.

The agency said they would immediately fix the problems the inspector has identified and are currently working to update their guidance and training for agents on identifying and examining cargo.



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