U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on St. Thomas moved into their new administrative offices on Crown Mountain this week, trading the Charlotte Amalie waterfront for a view of the airport.
The former naval barracks will also house the agency’s K-9 kennel, and provide space for federal, state, and local stakeholder engagement. The facility will be fully modernized with state-of-the-art communications and security features, operating and administrative spaces, fitness center, and training areas, according to a written statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Chief Officer Wilbert Smith said operations will continue as usual at the various ports of entry.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection had previously had their St. Thomas offices in the Ron de Lugo Federal Building.
In a written statement, Diane Sabatino, CBP’s deputy executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations, said the new facility was an upgrade that would better secure and facilitate legitimate trade and travel throughout the US Virgin Islands.
The Office of Field Operations is the largest component in CBP. It is responsible for border security — including anti-terrorism, immigration, anti-smuggling, trade compliance, and agriculture protection — while simultaneously facilitating the lawful trade and travel at 328 ports of entry nationally.
For the ribbon-cutting event, Sabatino provided short remarks, along with Todd Bellew, St.Thomas Area port director, Ray Martinez, USVI police commissioner, and Conrad Francois, a representative of Congressional Delegate Stacey Plaskett’s office.