CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 News has learned the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office is expanding its enforcement of northern border security.
They’re focusing on crimes like human trafficking and drug smuggling that cross the Canadian border.
The sheriff’s office just got a $200.000 grant from the federal government to focus on “land-based operations” to reduce crime at the border.
Lake Erie is Ohio’s international border with Canada.
The U.S.-Canadian border stretches about 5,000 miles.
It's the longest and busiest land boundary in the world.
"Operation Stonegarden Program" is underway here in Cuyahoga County.
The program is not new here, but its focus is.
The federal grant funds work between the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Northern Border Initiative and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
They're targeting drug smuggling and human trafficking specifically with more enforcement on our roads.
19 News spoke to Lt. Chris Kozub with the sheriff's office over the phone.
“They can hop on a bus and get a ride over, in a car or semi-truck and drive it across the border. And hopefully, we are good enough and are able to check those indicators and conduct vehicle stops before the drugs hit our streets,” he said.
19 News got a rare interview with U.S. Border Patrol in Detroit last fall.
We asked them how safe our northern border is.
“It should be noted that the lakes themselves, as large as they are, are an amazing geographical inhibitor. And it allows us to take a look at the traffic that's moving on the lakes through such technology assets such as radar and camera systems that we utilize in order to be able to identify that threat,” said Tony Barker, Deputy Chief Patrol Agent of Detroit Sector with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Surrounding counties including Lorain, Erie, and Ottawa also got this federal grant for border security, according to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office.
U.S. Coast Guard patrols Lake Erie too.