United States Customs and Border Protection is the largest federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs, and immigration. CBP is the largest law enforcement agency in the United States. It has a workforce of more than 45,600 sworn federal agents and officers. It has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.
While its primary mission is preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States, CBP is also responsible for apprehending individuals attempting to enter the United States illegally including those with a criminal record, stemming the flow of illegal drugs and other contraband, protecting United States agricultural and economic interests from harmful pests and diseases, and protecting American businesses from intellectual property theft.
CBP has the authority to search outbound and inbound shipments, and uses targeting to carry out its mission in this area. Under Section 596 of the Tariff Act, CBP is required to seize and forfeit all merchandise that is stolen, smuggled, or clandestinely imported or introduced. CBP is also required to seize and forfeit controlled substances, certain contraband articles, and plastic explosives that do not contain a detection agent. In conjunction with the Department of State and the Bureau of the Census, CBP has put in place regulations that require submission of electronic export information on U.S. Munitions List and for technology for the Commerce Control List. CBP uses advance information from the Automated Targeting System and the Automated Export System to identify cargo that may pose a threat. CBP also works with the Departments of State and Defense to improve procedures on exported shipments of foreign military sales commodities.