Blaineborder officials find men in rail cars

Published on Thu, May 10, 2007 by eg Olson

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Blaine border officials find men in rail cars

By Meg Olson

In two seperate incidents last month, Customs and Border Protection officers (CBP) scanning southbound rail cars with gamma rays discovered Honduran stowaways illegally entering the United States.

On April 27 CBP officers at the rail inspection station south of Blaine were using gamma-ray imaging scanners to get a high-resolution image of the contents of the rail cars. What they found was an anomaly inside a grain car that appeared to be a stowaway and radioed the train to stop. Border Patrol agents checked the car and found 37-year-old Elmer Centeno-Castro.

Castro was booked into Whatcom County jail pending extradition to San Francisco where he is wanted on a felony dangerous drugs warrant. CBP press officer Mike Milne said Centeno-Castro has an “extensive criminal history” and has been previously deported from the United States.

Four days later, on May 1, the gamma-ray scanners picked up another image that turned out to be Rigoberto Valle Acosta, a 24-year-old Honduran, hiding in the porthole for loading a railcar full of potassium. Acosta was handed over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The back-to-back arrests do not appear to be connected, Milne said.

Milne said with the two recent arrests there have been a total of four interceptions of rail stowaways using the gamma-imaging technology since it was put in place south of Blaine in 2005.