Border Patrol increases arrests by 64% along Montana-Canada boundary

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent monitors U.S.-Canadian border near Sweet Grass. ( CBP photo)

(The Havre Herald) While arrests by U.S. Border Patrol agents across the U.S. more than doubled, Havre Sector agents made 64% more arrests during the past year, the local sector reported.

“The arrests we see on the northern border are fewer compared to the southern border, but are just as important to our communities and national security,” said Scott Good, deputy chief patrol agent.  “We rely on people, technology and our law enforcement partners in Canada and across Montana to help keep our community safe.”

The Havre Sector patrols 456 miles of the U.S.-Canada border, an area consisting of six stations: St. Mary, Sweetgrass, Havre, Malta, Scobey and Plentywood.

Overall, arrests by Border Patrol agents across the country increased from 404,142 during fiscal year 2018 to 859,501 in fiscal 2019.  While marijuana seizures were down, hard narcotics saw a significant increase from the previous year.

CBP does not release stats for local areas, said David Lines, media spokesperson for the Havre Sector. But he did provide some insight into commonalities on the northern border.

“The majority of immigration arrests we encounter up here are going to be for Entry Without Inspection, (someone that did not get inspected at a port of entry before coming into the country) or visa overstay,” Lines said, clarifying the latter as “someone who had a valid visa or entry permit, but overstayed the amount of time they were given to be here in the country.”

Statistics from CBP show that in five years, the amount of cocaine seized by border agents has doubled, from 45,323 pounds in 2014 to 89,207.

The amount of methamphetamine seized by agents during that same time has more than doubled. Agents went from seizing 19,613 pounds in 2104 to 68,585 in 2019.

Fentanyl is a drug that had an astronomical increase in flow. In fiscal year 2014, Border Patrol didn’t even post an accounting. The following year, 70 pounds was seized. By 2019, agents seized 2,545 pounds of the synthetic opioid.