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CBP Thwarts Human Smuggling Attempt

BUFFALO, NY- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers apprehended two Guyanese nationals as they attempted to enter the United States illegally as stowaways aboard an inbound commercial truck. CBP Officers using gamma-imaging technology discovered the two individuals hiding in a container of Styrofoam trays. On March 29, 2006, at 12:30 a.m., Mootilan Ramphal, a Trinidadian national with Landed Immigrant Status in Canada, applied for entry into the United States at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry. Ramphal presented a manifest and invoice for Styrofoam trays and window hardware. CBP officers selected the shipment for a secondary enforcement exam. During the course of the inspection, CBP officers utilized the Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS), a passive, non-intrusive inspection (NII) device employing gamma-ray technology to produce a high-resolution image of the conveyance’s contents (see photo below). The scan produced anomalies consistent with that of stowaways in the nose of the container. A physical inspection of the container resulted in the discovery of two Guyanese nationals commingled within the legitimate freight. Both individuals were taken into custody without incident.

The two individuals were identified as Bramhadaut Prashad and Debra Appadu, both Guyanese nationals without proper documentation to enter or remain in the United States. Both subjects were arrested on federal charges of illegal entry and conspiracy. Ramphal was arrested on federal charges of alien smuggling. “All three individuals were turned over to agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation and prosecution by the United States Attorney’s office,” stated James Engleman, director, Field Operations for CBP Buffalo Field Office.

NII systems use advanced imaging and density-detecting technologies in the evaluation of the contents of trucks, containers, cargo, and passenger vehicles to determine the possible presence of many types of contraband. CBP in the Port of Buffalo, as well as many ports throughout the United States, utilize a wide variety of non-intrusive inspection systems. In addition to the mobile VACIS units, CBP Officers utilize rail gamma-imaging systems, radiation portal monitors and personal radiation detectors. “These technologically advanced tools assist CBP officers in executing their primary mission of ensuring terrorists and weapons of terror do not enter the United States,” stated Engleman.

Human Smuggling

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