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Calexico ports open, scrutiny heightened

September 11, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Both Calexico ports of entry operated at the highest level of alert in the wake of the apparent terrorist attacks this morning.

Jim Michie, a spokesperson for the U.S. Customs Service, said at 10 a.m., "Right now we're maintaining level 1 — the highest level of alert. It will remain so until otherwise decided."

Michie said all ports of entry at the Mexican and Canadian border will remain open, "Absolutely — but all traffic moving into the U.S. is subjected to a higher level of scrutiny."

At the downtown Calexico Port of Entry, the higher level of scrutiny meant any person entering the U.S. from Mexico on foot had to pass through a metal detector.

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Vehicle inspections continued as they would on a normal business day, but U.S. Customs Port Director Bonnie Lemert said, "Everyone is on a heightened state of alert."

She said extra officers have been deployed to the local ports of entry and all U.S. Customs agents along the borders will be available to help in any criminal investigations launched by the FBI.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday vehicular and foot traffic flowed smoothly from Mexicali.

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