Although comprised of only 209 square miles, the island of Guam is the bridge to the United States for travelers from Asia. There is one point of entry that is located at the International Airport in Agana. The U.S. Customs service at this port is operated by the Customs Border Protection (CBP) Division of the Department of Homeland Security. It is part of the San Francisco Field Operations Office.
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The border point of entry in Guam is the largest airport in the Micronesia region and handles over 2.5 million passenger movements each year. It is capable of processing 5,000 international passengers an hour. Monitoring this influx of people provides a number of jobs for Customs and Border Patrol agents. In 2006, there were 42 customs inspection stations and 48 stations to process immigrants.
U.S. Customs careers in Guam involve actively monitoring the shipment of goods in addition to their efforts to ensure that only those with the proper papers enter the U.S. The Agana port of entry has over 26 acres for the storage of containers and handled over 84,000 containers in 2006. Projections for 2013 predict that over 21,000 metric tons of cargo will be transported by air into this border point. Over 75% of the food and industrial goods used in Guam are imported from the U.S. mainland.
Intervention of Drug Trafficking in Guam
Although the primary goal of the Customs and Border Patrol agents is to fight terrorism, they play an active and high profile role in the interdiction of drugs that pass through Guam. The high volume of goods and the great number of people that pass through the airport in Guam provide ample opportunity for drug smuggling into this territory. Most of the drugs smuggled into Guam are transported through this airport. Drugs are seized from passengers, cargo, and baggage.
The CBP in Guam has a strong relationship with local and federal law enforcement to help interdict drug shipments into this territory. Guam is only a few hours away by air from such Asian cities as Hong Kong and Seoul. Heroin from Southeast Asia is imported into Guam and then shipped to the U.S. and Canada. In addition, methamphetamine fetches a high price on the island. A queenping of drug smuggling in Guam was recently sentenced to 27 years in jail for transporting over 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or ice, into the island.
The Role of Agricultural Specialists in Guam
To help prevent the threat of invasive species, pests, and pathogens from being introduced into Guam, there is a quarantine facility at the border entry point in Agana. Guam’s island ecology makes its highly susceptible to potential ecological invaders. The CBP has a group of Agricultural Specialists that monitor these efforts. This task is considered so important the CBP has established a career path for entry-level Agricultural Specialists.