From October 1, 2021, to April 30, 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to Chicago O’Hare International Airport arrested 105 travelers as they were attempting to enter the U.S. or as they were trying to flee. Additionally, during the month of May 2022, CBP officers arrested an additional 19 travelers for outstanding warrants.
CBP officers apprehend those with outstanding warrants as they try to enter and depart the U.S. and turn them over to local authorities for further prosecution. This year officers have arrested those wanted on child porn, weapon charges, drug trafficking, sexual assault, and murder. For example, in November, CBP officers assisted in the arrest of Heather Mack upon her return to the U.S.
“CBP officers frequently collaborate with other law enforcement agencies throughout the country and internationally to ensure criminals are not able to freely walk the streets,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “Our officers have the responsibility to identify wanted fugitives at our ports of entry and take the necessary law enforcement action.”
Officers use the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database and cross reference active arrest warrants with the manifest of departing and arriving passengers. Once officers confirm the exact match with the NCIC database, officers detain the passenger from boarding or after disembarking their flight and turn them over to local authorities.
The NCIC is a centralized automated database designed to share information, such as outstanding warrants, among law enforcement agencies. Based on information from NCIC, CBP officers have previously arrested individuals wanted for homicide, escape, money laundering, robbery, narcotics distribution, sexual child abuse, fraud, larceny, and military desertion.
“Our officers are always on alert for those who are fleeing the country to avoid prosecution,” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director, Chicago. “The use of law enforcement databases, like NCIC, and intelligence by CBP officers is extremely instrumental in the apprehension of wanted criminals.”
On a typical day last year, CBP processed more than 650,000 arriving travelers at U.S. airports, seaports and land border crossings, and officers and agents arrested an average of 25 wanted criminals every day.