Blaine border crossing featured in new ABC TV show

Whatcom County residents tuning into ABC's new reality television series, "Homeland Security USA," on Tuesday, Jan. 6, will see something familiar - the Peace Arch border crossing in Blaine.

The first episode, titled "This is Your Car on Drugs," features a vehicle search performed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the crossing in December 2007, Customs spokesman Tom Schreiber said.

Agents found cocaine hidden in the car, Schreiber said. After arresting the driver, the agents used power tools to dismantle the car to see if any more drugs were concealed inside.

"The vehicle's forfeited and at that point we just go to town on it with our power tools," Schreiber said.

The premiere episode features six stories about the lives and work of the federal agents tasked to protect U.S. borders.

The show's producers were given access to the many border agencies under the Department of Homeland Security, including the U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Schreiber said producers were drawn to the Blaine sector because of its size and because it can be accessed by air, land and sea.

This provided producers with a variety of incidents and experiences to document, Schreiber said.

"We, as a sector, are very diverse," Schreiber said. "There's a wide range of experiences here every day. Blaine's indicative of what happens at small ports and large ports."Schreiber was excited about the show's premiere and the chance to get national attention for the sector.

"That's a real thrill for us," Schreiber said.

The U.S. Border Patrol in Blaine also was in contact with producers about getting featured on the show, spokesman Michael Bermudez said.

However, Bermudez said producers decided to focus on other sectors that have incidents more geared toward television.

"They were searching out different sectors," Bermudez said. "For a TV show they wanted a lot of action."

Reach Peter Jensen at 715-2264 or at peter.jensen@bellinghamherald.com.