Department of the Interior Border Surge Shows Immediate Success, Zinke Commits More Officers to Borderlands

48 hours: Thirteen arrests made, illegal firearm confiscated

Last edited 5/16/2018

Date: May 16, 2018

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that just two days into the surge operation of Interior law enforcement officers to the Department’s southern borderlands, the mission has resulted in more than a dozen arrests.

Following President Donald Trump’s recent announcement of a deployment plan to secure the southern border, earlier this month, Secretary Zinke deployed an initial surge of 22 Department of the Interior law enforcement officers to Interior-managed borderlands between Arizona and Texas. The​ir​ first day of duty was Monday, May 14​, 2018​. By midday Wednesday, May 16, the team had made 13 arrests and confiscated an illegal handgun that had the serial number filed off. Officers also found extensive evidence of recent activity along smuggling routes.

"First I’d like to congratulate these officers on a job well done and thank them for putting their lives on the line. Today’s report that more than a dozen individuals were arrested while illegally crossing the border on to Interior-managed lands and bringing illegal firearms into our communities is proof that President Trump’s push to have a greater law enforcement presence to secure the southern border is needed,” ​​said Secretary Zinke. “President Trump and I are 100-percent committed to keeping our border communities and the American people safe and secure, which is why I'm deploying additional law enforcement officers to increase security of Interior-managed lands on the southern border."

On May 15, 2018​,​ Department of the Interior Officers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service detained a group of 11 suspected undocumented aliens crossing through Interior managed lands. While searching the immediate area the officers also located an abandoned handgun. Upon further investigation of the handgun it was determined that the serial number had been removed. The firearm and the suspected undocumented aliens were turned over to the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Also on May 15, ​2018, ​officers from the Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Agents from the U.S. Border Patrol began walking suspected smuggling trails and identifying layup areas on Department of the Interior-managed lands. Layup areas are areas where the undocumented aliens and narcotic smugglers rest. These areas were easily identified from the large amounts of trash and clothing left behind.

​In a second operation o​n May 16th, 2018​,​ officers from Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were patrolling Department of Interior-managed lands when they spotted two subjects in the brush. The subjects were detained and turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol. The U.S. Border Patrol determined both subjects were Sri Lankan Nationals and illegally present in the United States.