News accounts are reporting that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) arrested a cruise passenger in Miami on charges that he has outstanding arrest warrants for kidnapping as well as assault and battery.
The charges involve criminal allegations made in South Carolina. The newspaper said the unidentified person is now awaiting extradition to South Carolina.
A CBP spokesperson at the port in Miami was quoted saying: “intercepting wanted criminals and detaining them on behalf of a law enforcement agency is part and parcel to what CBP does to ensure those crossing the border into the United States do not pose a risk to our nation and its population.”
The above quote is rather bizarre because the man arrested is apparently an U.S. citizen who went on a cruise out of Miami which included a port in Jamaica. So the CBP should have arrested the cruise passenger on the assault and kidnapping charges at the beginning of the cruise rather than at the end.
The news release by the CBP is misleading and says that the man was arrested “after he arrived here on a cruise ship from Jamaica.” Of course, there are no cruises which originate in Jamaica.
The CBP boasts that the arrest demonstrates “vigilance and dedication exercised every day by CBP officers to secure our homeland and safeguard our citizens.” But the truth of the matter is that the CBP didn’t bother to screen the cruise manifest and arrest the wanted man before he sailed from U.S. waters.
We have seen this problem many times. Read our article two years ago – Are You Cruising with a Wanted Felon? Five Passengers Arrested on Carnival Magic in Galveston.
This reveals a major flaw in the CBP which does not bother to review who is leaving the country on cruises. This person had an outstanding arrest warrant for serious violent felonies yet he was permitted on the unidentified cruise ship to mingle with passengers when potentially he posed a danger to others.
The CBP’s primary mission is anti-terrorism, it admits, so it is inexcusable that it does not scrutinize passenger lists before cruise ships sail out of U.S waters.
The Customs and Border Patrol should begin vetting the name of passengers before the cruise starts, rather than screening passengers only at the end of the cruise. Unfortunately this is standard practice which routinely permits rapists, criminals with outstanding warrants and other misfits to board cruise ships. Then there is great fanfare at the end of the cruise when the CBP finally take a look at the ship manifest.
As we reported before, cruise passengers Steven Mark Anthony Requena (photo right), age 28, was arrested while disembarking the Carnival Inspiration at the Port of Tampa two year ago. His name was flagged by a sweep of the manifest of passengers by Homeland Security officials who determined that the passenger was wanted for sexual assault in addition to assault with a weapon and forcible confinement. The U.S. Marshals arrested Requena only after the cruise ship returned to port. Regretfully, our federal government routinely looks at the ship passenger list only after the bad guys have already boarded the cruise ship.
It is one of the reasons why cruising is more dangerous that it should be. At a time when the world is focused on dealing with ISIS, it is irresponsible for our Federal employees not to look at the passenger list before the cruise ship leaves a U.S. port.