New Task Force Targets Local Borders

In just its first week, a new Homeland Security Task Force has netted $1-million in seizures.

The Global Trade Task Force (GTTF) is a multi-agency effort made up of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

It targets illicit commercial activities at Michigan ports of entry including the Ambassador Bridge, Windsor-Detroit Tunnel, Bluewater Bridge (In Sarnia-Port Huron) and Detroit-Metro Airport.

"I think this is a busy commercial environment with lots of trade going on and I think that by putting our capabilities and matching up with Custom and Border Protection's (CBP) targeting capability, we're able to do this and much more in the future,"  says Spokesperson Jared Murphy, adding he's not surprised by how much was seized.

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Items seized by the new Global Trade Task Force on display for the media in Detroit, MI., March 11, 2019. (Photo by AM800's Peter Langille)

He says even though the GTTF has been very successfully in its first week, it's too soon to tell if the task force will be duplicated across the country.

"I think that there's tremendous potential for this task force," he says. "Whether or not it's duplicated throughout the country, I think is largely dependant on how successful we can be and we hope to have more operations like this and more success."

When it comes to working with Canada, Spokesperson Christopher Perry says the U.S. and Canadian authorities have a tremendous relationship.

"Each country has certain information sharing rules so I can't really speak specifically to the types of information that we share but we speak with our Canadian counterparts on a regular basis."

Included in the recent seizures was  $520,000 worth of fake Rolex watches, $385,000 worth of fake Zanex and smaller values of counterfeit shoes, airbags, iPhones, e-cigarettes and botox.

— With files form AM800's Peter Langille