ACPA Wilke was a team member comprised of high level managers from a diverse group of San Diego based federal agencies formed to collaboratively address the increasing use of the maritime environment by criminal organizations as a method to smuggle drugs and people into the country.
The maritime domain is a high-risk environment that poses significant danger of death and serious injury to human life. Maritime smuggling vessels are often overloaded and not seaworthy. Maritime smuggling generally occurs at hours of darkness and vessel operators rarely use required safety equipment. Maritime vessel operators often intently smuggle during inclement weather and hazardous sea state to evade detection. The team successfully created and implemented a consequence delivery strategy specific to the San Diego region called the Maritime Safety Initiative (MSI) designed to prevent this unsafe and illegal maritime smuggling activity.
Under MSI, all illegal maritime migrants are formally removed, informed of the consequences of re-entering through the maritime domain, and then transported outside of the California corridor to be repatriated to Mexico. Maritime migrants that choose to illegally re-enter through the San Diego maritime domain are referred for prosecution for felony re-entry after deportation. Maritime smugglers are also targeted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for prioritized criminal prosecution.
ACPA Wilke said, “Each team member greatly contributed to the success in the creation, implementation, and execution of the Maritime Safety Initiative with a primary focus to promote the preservation of life at sea and the enforcement of U.S. laws.” He added, “The Maritime Safety Initiative demonstrates what can be accomplished when agencies work together and share resources to accomplish a common goal."
After the implementation of the MSI during Fiscal Year 2011, maritime smuggling trends have significantly decreased as witnessed by a reduction in maritime apprehensions from 867 apprehensions in fiscal year 2010 to 631 in fiscal year 2011.
ACPA Wilke will accept the CBP Mission Integration Award on behalf of team members Mark V. Dunbar with the U.S. Border Patrol, William P. Snyder and John E. Garzon with the Office of Field Operations, William Raymond, with the Office of Air and Marine, Michael P. Carney, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Michael Wheat, with the Assistant United States Attorney Office and Patricia L. Hill, with the United States Coast Guard.
Gerald, a San Diego native, served in the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division and Special Forces from 1980 through 1984 and later attended San Diego Mesa College. In 2010, he successfully completed a CBP Command Leadership Academy. Gerald has worked for the U.S. Border Patrol since 1986.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.