Inside Track


UP Technology Impacting Cross-Border Security

Posted July 18, 2014 08:33 AM CDT

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In place for slightly more than two months, RIP technology enabled CBP and UP to pinpoint and confiscate marijuana near Nogales, Arizona.

Union Pacific's investment in technology to enhance secure rail transportation at the railroad's border crossings is having a positive impact.

"There has been a documented downward trend of illegal contraband successfully making it into the United States as a result of our security efforts," said Union Pacific's Tom Mengel, general director-Police Operations. "I am confident that cartels are starting to realize they cannot successfully use this method of transportation to move contraband."

Mengel pointed to a recent example - a Railcar Inspection Portal (RIP), which instantly provides a 360-degree view of rail cars passing through U.S.-Mexico crossings, detected 15 bundles of marijuana near Nogales, Arizona. After noticing suspicious images from the RIP, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Union Pacific special agents went to inspect the rail car. They noticed the bottom of the rail car had been cut before the train came into the United States, filled with contraband and patched over – a discovery that enabled them to confiscate the drugs.

In addition to Nogales, RIPs have been installed in Calexico, California; El Paso, Texas; and Eagle Pass, Texas.

UP also continues investing in other resources to promote more secure rail transportation, including Train Rider Identification Detection Systems (TRIDS) that detect unauthorized train riders and Virtual Fencing that alerts the Response Management Control Center (RMCC) of trespassers.