Detroit unveils new $14M border patrol headquarters
The United States Border Patrol unveiled its new $14 million, state-of-the-art headquarters in Detroit Thursday.
The opening of the new facility coincided with the border patrol's 91st birthday, and will replace the older station that was designed for only nine agents.
The 42,500 square foot building, can accommodate 100 agents, is equipped with the latest technology, a large processing area, a short term kennel that can fit three dogs, a wet gear storage area, a gym and a helicopter pad.
"We are a very porous border up here," said Frank Puglise, acting patrol agent in charge, U.S. Border Patrol, Detroit Sector. "We need additional manpower if you ask me and additional technology."
Detroit's Border Patrol station opened during the days of prohibition back in the 1920s when smuggling alcohol was the main concern.
"That legacy of smuggling still endures to some extent," said Puglise. "The commodity has changed. Sometimes its drugs, or sometimes it's people, but the methods haven't really changed that much. They use boats and they come across the Canadian side or vice-verse, we get a lot of smuggling going towards Canada."
Last year the U.S. border patrol in the Detroit area arrested 673 people from 40 different countries trying to smuggle everything from guns, drugs, cash and people across the border to and from Canada.
"Our biggest challenge in this area is to identify who, out of all those boats, is the danger," explains Puglise. "Because the smuggler looks like anybody else."