Following the tragic events of 9/11, the Customs Border Protection (CBP) Division of the Department of Homeland Security has placed a renewed emphasis on border security. This agency increased the number of CBP agents by over 600% in the period from 2001-2011 and is still recruiting new members.
The state of Kentucky has two official border ports of entry, both at airports. One is at the Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, while the other is at the Louisville International Airport. These entry points are under the purview of the CBP Chicago Field Office.
Kentucky’s Efforts to Fight Terrorism
The state of Kentucky was alert to the threat of terrorism before 9/11 and has streamlined its official lines of communication in case of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. In addition to potential attacks involving explosives or weapons, they have been alert to the treat of bioterrorism and agroterrorism. In 1987, the state formed the Epidemiology Rapid Response Team to respond to disease outbreaks in Kentucky.
U.S. Customs careers and Border Patrol jobs are on the forefront of efforts to fight terrorism in Kentucky, since this is the number of one priority of the Department of Homeland Security. These agents have recieved specialized training in order to effectively monitor those who try and enter the state from other countries to make sure they have permission to be here legally and are not carrying drugs or other forms of contraband.
Kentucky is no stranger to terrorist plots. Two residents of Bowling Green were arrested in 2011 for their involvement in terrorism in Iraq. These Iraqi citizens had been involved in terrorist attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq and were attempting to send money and weapons to Al Qaida members in that country. They were given harsh sentences in January of 2013.
Fighting the Drug Trade in Kentucky
The jobs of customs and border patrol agents in Kentucky also involve working to stop the flow of drugs both into and out of the state. Kentucky is a significant U.S. supplier of marijuana, particularly from areas in the Daniel Boone National Forest. This drug is exported to the East and West coasts and is of such high quality that it is said to be prized in cities such as New York City, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
Prescription drug abuse is rampant in Kentucky, and flights from Florida bringing oxycontin into the state are so frequent that are called the “Oxycontin Express.” In addition, Louisville and Lexington are used to transport cocaine from the southwest border to the Northeast.