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C-TPAT Members Warned of Increase in Smuggling in Commercial Shipments from Mexico

Monday, March 25, 2013

C-TPAT Members Warned of Increase in Smuggling in Commercial Shipments from Mexico

U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent to members of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism March 22 a message stating that in the past few weeks it has detected an increase in narcotic and human smuggling seizures in commercial shipments (both C-TPAT and non-C-TPAT) originating in Mexico and entering through several southwest border ports. CBP is cautioning importers, foreign manufacturers, Mexican long-haul carriers and U.S./Mexico highway carriers that drug trafficking organizations may target all entities involved in the supply chain regardless of the commodity being transported. CBP is therefore recommending that C-TPAT members reassess the risk of shipments coming from Mexico and mitigate vulnerabilities through actions such as the following.

- conducting risk assessments on business partners, including monitoring their status verification interfaces, conducting site visits and highly scrutinizing new business partners

- conducting random and unannounced container inspections

- ensure that GPS in conveyances is being utilized correctly and efficiently and maintaining constant communication with the driver, tractor and trailer while en route to the border

- ensuring that managers and appropriate personnel understand company procedures on reporting suspicious activities, discrepancies and anomalies to local law enforcement agencies, CBP port(s) and assigned supply chain security specialists

- periodically conducting thorough background checks of employees, especially those who come in contact with cargo

- conducting refresher training for employees handling cargo, especially truck drivers, and training managers to detect internal conspiracies

CBP also notes that C-TPAT members have developed several best practices to defeat security breaches, including the following.

- requiring drivers to report the time at each specific area along the route

- minimizing or eliminating unnecessary stops by drivers

- ability of the highway carrier to shut off a truck’s engine remotely in the event of route deviations or lost contact with driver

- using tamper-indicative security labels bearing an actual photo of the seal and a serial number, attached to the hinges and between the two doors of the vehicle

- using multiple ISO/PAS 17712 certified high security seals on all shipments bound to the

- utilizing spot welded bolts and other hardware (such as hinge covers) and attaching a cast iron J-bar device to the locking bar (which requires a specialized tool for removal) to avoid tampering

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