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NEWS
November 26, 1991 | HENRY WEINSTEIN and RONALD J. OSTROW, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
Federal authorities said Monday they have cracked an international money-laundering ring that moved $500 million in Colombian cocaine cartel money through banks in five U.S. cities, including Los Angeles. More than 35 people were arrested and 30 offices and homes searched in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Miami and Providence, R.I., according to Commissioner of Customs Carol Hallett. In all, charges were lodged against 50 people by federal grand juries in the five cities.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 14, 2007 | David Haldane
U.S. customs agents and local police have identified 520 deportable inmates in the first year of a controversial program to find undocumented immigrants in the city's jail. The inmates included foreign nationals with prior convictions on drug and firearms charges, the Costa Mesa Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Thursday. -- David Haldane
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 21, 1999 | DAVID ROSENZWEIG, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A Los Angeles federal jury convicted three Venezuelans--a banker, a lawyer and a businessman--on Monday after a trial climaxing the biggest narcotics money laundering case in U.S. history. The five-week trial was an outgrowth of Operation Casablanca, a lengthy undercover probe that targeted Mexican and Venezuelan banks along with money launderers for the Juarez and Cali drug cartels.
NATIONAL
August 18, 2007 | Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Times Staff Writer
The Bush administration is planning to call in customs officers to help overwhelmed health inspectors protect Americans from tainted imports of food, toys and other consumer goods, senior officials said Friday, describing a new strategy for dealing with compromised products. The evolving plan, to be delivered to President Bush next month by a task force he appointed, also is expected to call for wider deployment of sophisticated technology at entry points.
NEWS
April 6, 1995 | WILLIAM C. REMPEL, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Customs Service agents raided spy equipment stores from Southern California to the East Coast on Wednesday, ending a 17-month undercover investigation into alleged smuggling of telephone bugging devices and other electronic surveillance equipment. Nine arrests have been made and more are expected, officials said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 9, 1999 | DAVID ROSENZWEIG, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Four Mexican nationals have quietly entered guilty pleas and agreed to testify against fellow defendants indicted in Operation Casablanca, the biggest drug money laundering sting in U.S. history. They are the first defectors from the ranks of about 40 Mexican and Venezuelan bankers, businessmen and suspected drug cartel members arrested in May after a two-year cross-border investigation by undercover agents from the U.S. Customs Service. Seventy others indicted are fugitives.
NEWS
March 20, 1993 | H.G. REZA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
It was the largest cocaine seizure ever made along the U.S.-Mexico border--almost four tons, or 7,702 pounds, of the powdery drug found hidden inside a Hidro Gas de Juarez propane tanker Oct. 3, 1990. But the record haul at the Otay port of entry was quickly engulfed in controversy as embarrassed U.S. Customs officials tried to explain how the driver was released before inspectors managed to extract the drugs hours later from a hidden compartment inside the tanker. As was routine, the U.S.
NEWS
February 4, 1996 | H.G. REZA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
While the U.S. Customs Service has relaxed controls of cargo and passengers, its cocaine seizures have declined sharply over the past year, prompting U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to call for firing the embattled agency's chief. Feinstein and U.S. Customs employees allege that drug interdiction is given relatively low priority under Commissioner George Weise as he presses a controversial program that allows millions of trucks to enter the country each year from Mexico without inspection.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 7, 2000 | DAN WEIKEL, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The controversy surrounding potentially harmful petroleum coke in the county's ports broadened Thursday, when a second lawsuit was filed against a major coal terminal and the U.S. Customs Service announced plans to close its main building on Terminal Island, partly because of coke dust contamination.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 18, 2000 | DAVID ROSENZWEIG, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Federal agents have arrested a senior U.S. Customs agent, a criminal defense lawyer and three others in an alleged scheme to smuggle 15,000 counterfeit Microsoft computer programs from Hong Kong to the United States. The arrests, disclosed Monday, grew out of a probe into complaints that Richard Casas, a veteran Customs Service agent, was receiving kickbacks for referring criminal suspects to attorney Lawrence S. Boyle of Westminster.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 15, 2007 | Tami Abdollah, Times Staff Writer
U.S. Customs officials said Tuesday that they had traced the source of last weekend's system outage that left 17,000 international passengers stranded in airplanes to a malfunctioning network interface card on a single desktop computer in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. The card, which allows computers to connect to a local area network, experienced a partial failure that started about 12:50 p.m.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 14, 2007 | Ted Rohrlich and Tami Abdollah, Times Staff Writers
Aviation officials criticized U.S. Customs on Monday for being unprepared and taking too long to fix the weekend computer failure at LAX that left more than 17,000 international passengers stranded for hours in airplanes. Accustomed to frequent, short-lived outages, customs officials said they mistakenly believed their computers would be up and running within an hour Saturday. Then they made another mistake, aviation officials said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 13, 2007 | Teresa Watanabe, Ted Rohrlich and Deborah Schoch, Times Staff Writers
A U.S. Customs computer outage that stranded more than 17,000 passengers at LAX was blamed Sunday on faulty hardware and an insufficient backup system that left frustrated travelers sitting on planes or standing in long lines. Saturday night's delays in screening people arriving on international flights were unprecedented, said Kevin Weeks, director of Los Angeles field operations for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. The computer malfunction, which began at 2 p.m.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 29, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
San Diego homicide detectives are investigating the death of a 30-year-old man while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers Wednesday morning. The man, a suspected smuggler, struggled with officers and died after being restrained, according to homicide Lt. Kevin Rooney. The incident occurred at the San Ysidro port of entry.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 17, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a smuggling ring that brought in hundreds of illegal immigrants through his vehicle lane at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. Michael Gilliland, 44, admitted in a plea agreement last year receiving as much as $120,000 from two smuggling groups for bypassing inspections on cars loaded with immigrants.
BUSINESS
July 12, 2006 | Lisa Girion, Times Staff Writer
The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to make it easier for Americans to import cheaper prescription medications from Canada, a strong reproach to the Bush administration's recent crackdown on drugs ordered by mail for personal use. Approved by a 68-32 vote, the measure would prohibit Customs and Border Patrol agents from seizing prescription drugs imported by individuals from Canadian pharmacies by mail or carried over the border.
NEWS
July 25, 1990 | LEO W. BANKS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Life has not been the same in this normally quiet border town of 14,000 since law enforcement officials discovered a drug smugglers' tunnel from Mexico that ended here. The May 17 discovery of the 250-foot-long tunnel, which began under a posh home in Agua Prieta in Mexico and ended in the warehouse of a cement business in Arizona, put Douglas on the international map. But the surge of publicity, which has turned the town into a mini tourist mecca, has inspired mixed feelings among residents.
NEWS
October 12, 1988 | PAUL HOUSTON, Times Staff Writer
An international bank, nine of its officers and 75 others have been indicted on charges of laundering more than $32 million in cocaine proceeds for the infamous drug cartel based in Medellin, Colombia, federal authorities announced Tuesday. The government also said that it had subpoenaed records from about 40 U.S. banks in what could become a broad expansion of the investigation. "This is the most important money laundering case in U.S.
BUSINESS
March 14, 2006 | Lisa Girion, Times Staff Writer
A customs administrator apologized Monday for not warning consumers that the agency was cracking down on the shipping of prescription drugs from foreign discount pharmacies. "I'm sorry that we didn't do a better job maybe announcing that we were implementing this," said Vera Adams, executive director of trade enforcement for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. But, she added, "I will never apologize for trying to protect the American public." The crackdown, which began Nov.
BUSINESS
March 9, 2006 | Lisa Girion, Times Staff Writer
About 13,000 packages of prescription drugs -- most ordered by U.S. seniors from licensed Canadian pharmacies -- have been held up by U.S. Customs and Border Protection since November, according to figures released Wednesday by a Florida senator. The largest number of packages, more than 4,000, have been stopped at the international mail center near Los Angeles International Airport, according to statistics that the office of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.
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