Border Patrol moves back to Swanton to stop illegal operations - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Border Patrol moves back to Swanton to stop illegal operations

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The Border Patrol in Swanton relocated to a new facility a little over a year ago. In that time, agents seized more than 300 pounds of marijuana and apprehended more than 500 suspects crossing the border illegally.

Chief John Pfeifer of the U.S. Border Patrol Swanton Sector said what operations the agency is targeting, "Firearms, human trafficking and narcotics. But our primary focus would be on people coming to the United States to do us harm."

The Border Patrol is just one of three components of Customs and Border Protection. Its main job is to police the border between international ports of entry. More than 300 agents work in Swanton.

"There are 20 sectors in the United States, Swanton Sector is one of those," said Pfeifer. "Nationally, the Border Patrol's budget was just over $3 billion. Our budget is based on our man power and resource requirements."

One of the machines at the station reads the finger prints of anyone the agents have arrested. It checks those fingerprints for immigration and criminal records.

Swanton agents often work other sites as well, sometimes at check points in New York on Interstate 87 and in Vermont where Interstate 89 meets 91 in White River Junction. They're checking for drugs, firearms and more.

"87 is the primary route from Montreal to New York City and 89 and 91 would be the primary route from Montreal to Boston, Massachusetts," said Pfeifer.

Joe Ajmo runs Gino's Pizza near the border. He says it gives him a sense of extra security.

"Seeing them around makes you feel really safe and things will be good."

Chief Pfeifer says one of the biggest challenges Customs stations on the Canadian border face is keeping track of the hundreds of miles of unblocked road. With limited resources, Pfeifer encourages the public if you see something say something.

"When you see something we really need to be called, because it could be that one instance where you could make a difference and save some lives in the United States."

It's a 24/7 job for the U.S. Border Patrol in Swanton. Agents watch over the northern border of the country from New York to Maine, a 250 mile stretch of land and sea.

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