Since 9/11, the U.S. Customs Border Protection (CBP) division of the Department of Homeland Security has been ramping up its efforts to protect the U.S. Borders. Thousands of additional CBP agents have been hired, and the agency is currently recruiting new members.
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The state of West Virginia has one official border point of entry located in the main terminal of the Charleston International Airport. Customs and Border Patrol agents at this location monitor those who seek to enter the U.S. to ensure that they have a legal right to enter and are not transporting any contraband such as drugs, weapons, or child pornography.
Customs and Border Patrol Agents Anti-Terrorism Efforts in West Virginia
The jobs of Customs and Border Patrol agents involve the number one priority of thwarting potential terrorist attacks in West Virginia and surround locales. While West Virginia is one of 18 states that does not have a designated high-threat, high-density metropolitan area, there are grave concerns about potential terrorism taking place in the state.
The proximity of the state to Washington, D.C., one of the top targets for terrorists in the world, has raised fears that the effects of an attack on this city could spill into West Virginia. That state itself is a potential target, since it has over 100 chemical plants and a port that receives a high volume of traffic. Also, the state’s electrical grid is critical to the supply of electricity throughout the East Coast. Disruption of this grid could disrupt the functioning of businesses and government throughout this part of the country. Customs and Border Patrol agents actively work to thwart such potential attacks.
Intercepting Drug Traffickers in West Virginia
Drug trafficking in West Virginia is a common occurrence, and the federal government has designated 12 counties in the state as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. Customs and Border Patrol agents work to prevent the importation of drugs into the state and their export to the rest of the country.
The presence of remote terrains in West Virginia has made the state attractive to drug traffickers. Much of the drug trade in West Virginia is controlled by Mexican cartels. In addition, the state is the source of a large amount of methamphetamine that is transported to other locations. One such case alone involved 29 people who were charged in Wheeling with trafficking cocaine, oxycodone, and heroin throughout West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
Border Patrol agents in West Virginia have also been involved in efforts to monitor vehicular traffic crossing through the state in an effort to control speeders and intercept potential drug carriers.