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Oil boom brings more Border Patrol arrests

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The U.S. Border Patrol is reporting a big increase in arrests in the Grand Forks sector, much of it in North Dakota’s booming Oil Patch.

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From the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 to June 30, there have been 514 arrests.

That compares with the 284 arrested in the same period in FY 2013 and 287 in the same period in FY 2012.

“Grand Forks sector Border Patrol agents in the Bakken region work daily with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in that area, which has resulted in a greater apprehension number with the massive influx of people moving to the Bakken region” sector spokesman Kris Grogan said in an email, referring to the Oil Patch’s Bakken Formation.

The Grand Forks sector includes North Dakota, Minnesota and six other neighboring states.

At the ports of entry, the patrol’s colleagues in the Office of Field Operations are keeping an eye on drugs coming in from the north.

Christopher Misson, a spokesman at the Pembina, N.D., port of entry, said Canada is a major source of MDMA/ecstasy and high-potency marijuana, while cocaine, weapons and drug money often cross from the U.S. into Canada.

But border guards at ports of entry in North Dakota have not seen a noticeable increase in illegal activities. From the start of this fiscal year until now, there have been 333 individuals refused admission, which may include arrests. In all of FY 2013, there were 597.

Misson said that illicit cross-border activity is significantly lower along the northern border than the southwestern border with Mexico though the northern border is nearly three times as long.

Because there is less illicit activity and because it’s spread out over a wider area, he said, law enforcement agencies have to cooperate and share intelligence more.

Call Richie at (701) 780-1134; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1134; or send email to grichie@gfherald.com.

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