CBP adding new radiation detectors at ports to find weapons of mass destruction

Border Report

High tech cameras with infra red scanners and radiation detection machines are at all ports of entry in South Texas, including the McAllen-Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge. A $60 million contract announced Oct. 12, 2021, will enable DHS to add 216 newer units throughout the nation’s ports. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The Department of Homeland Security awarded two contracts for $60.8 million to equip border agents at land and sea ports with newer, high-tech radiation monitors to help detect weapons of mass destruction, the agency said Tuesday.

Smiths Detection Inc., received a $34 million contract and Leidos Security Detection & Automation Inc., (formerly L-3 Communications Corp.) was awarded a $26.8 million contract to supply a total of 216 additional Radiation Portal Monitors that U.S. Customs and Border Protection will use to scan cargo through ports of entry.

The port of entry in Del Rio, Texas, like all U.S. ports on the Southwest border is equipped with radiation detection technology. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

“The WMD threat landscape continues to evolve,” Gary Rasicot, acting assistant secretary for the agency’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office, said in a statement. “These procurement orders will equip our frontline partners with the resources needed to stay ahead of evolving threats. I am proud to announce this significant acquisition effort to enhance the security our nation’s ports of entry.”

Radiation Portal Monitors have been installed at sea and land border ports for years. These contracts will enable the agency to add additional units, as well as newer technology.

The Falfurrias CBP checkpoint in South Texas is the largest land port on the Southwest border. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

“We are proud to continue to support our partners at CBP by deploying new and enhanced RPM systems directly to the field,” CWMD Acquisition Division Director Kalpesh Patel said.

The CWMD department focuses on ways domestic law enforcement and first responders can detect and report chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, Patel said.

All visitors to the Del Rio International Bridge in South Texas must pass through CBP inspection stations. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

On the South Texas border, CBP officers at border ports are equipped with radiation portal monitors, as well as personal radiation detectors to scan commercial and passenger vehicles at ports of entry, a CBP spokesman told Border Report on Tuesday.

The devices are considered “passive” and all vehicles pass through them. If a device detects a radioactive source, then an alert is sent to the CBP officers who follow up with additional technology and screening.

In addition, CBPO officers wear radiation detectors that also alert agents to a radioactive source in the vicinity.

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