59 minors denied entrance to Mexico under ‘Turnaround'

June 18, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Local law enforcement authorities manning the downtown Calexico Port of Entry on Friday night and Saturday morning prevented 59 youths from entering Mexicali without parental permission.

County Sheriff's Office deputies and probation officers were joined by Calexico police and U.S. Customs officers in "Operation Turnaround."

The joint operation was organized in light of high school graduations Friday night, which meant it was likely that youths under age 18 would attempt to cross into Mexicali to celebrate.

The only way those under 18 can cross legally without their parents is if they have signed, notarized parental permission.

Operation Turnaround has been in effect for two years and is implemented in times such as graduations when celebrating is in high gear.

Authorities said the operation allows law enforcement agencies to share resources to protect those who are underage.

Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jim Burns said the operation was a success in that 59 youths were turned back at the border.


"It would have been nice if no one attempted," Burns said, adding at times youths "of all ages" do not make the best decisions.

Burns added he realizes at those times when Operation Turnaround is not in effect, youths likely cross into Mexico because there is little to stop them.

Still, he said the operation will be done again when authorities deem it necessary.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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