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First woman to head San Ysidro Port of Entry discusses fentanyl crisis, plans for PedWest

For the first time in history, a woman is in charge of the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Port Director Mariza Marin was officially promoted to the position in August.

SAN DIEGO — Born and raised in Barrio Logan, San Ysidro Port Director Mariza Marin has spent most of her 14-year career with customs and border protection.

Marin recently earned a title that gives her jurisdiction over the issues surrounding Ped-East, the port of entry between her hometown and Tijuana. Making her responsible for dealing with who or what is crossing into our nation. 

“My time with CBP started in December of 2008. Started at the seaport up in Long Beach and certainly after transitioned into San Diego as an officer and worked my way to the leadership positions,” said Marin.

Although she is the only woman in San Diego who has earned this title, Marin wants to assure Americans that regardless of gender her responsibility is border security. CBS 8 asked Marin how she plans to guarantee that. 

“We leverage technology, we look for innovative ways to become more efficient where I can do the same or better enforcement mission with better advancement in technology,” said Marin.

Leveraging resourceful technology has helped seize over 5,000 pounds of fentanyl, a strong opioid responsible for almost 70% of overdose deaths in 2021 nationally.

According to CBP, drug cartels are attempting to traffic even more of the drugs into other parts of the country and their biggest target are children. 

“High school students that have economic difficulties in their family are being recruited to smuggle narcotics across our border, they’re minors, they don’t know the dangers of even just carrying this stuff in their pockets,” Said Marin.

Marin added that while CBP is working hard to stop opioids from coming through, they need people to help with outreach.

Marin was also asked about asylum processing and the holding cells that CBP has been criticized for in the past.

In terms of the holding cells, Marin says she is moving away from that tactic. However, she says legal immigration is crucial and it starts with a path leading to that. 

“I think the path forward for us is having a legal pathway available for these folks,” said Marin. For wait times that can sometimes last hours at Ped-East, she is hoping to reduce them with the help of Border Xpress, the new port of entry that will open soon. 

As for Ped-West, she says it will not be opening up anytime soon because masses of people will crowd the area and affect nearby businesses and schools.

She hopes to continue working closely with other agencies to find solutions to make it accessible again.

WATCH RELATED: San Diego: The epicenter of fentanyl trafficking (Aug. 2022).


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