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On WA’s border, more security, tension since 9/11

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In 1999, customs officers in Port Angeles spotted a nervous Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian national who later was convicted on multiple counts for plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport. Custom agents found explosives in the trunk of his car when he drove off a ferry from Canada.

Two years earlier, Border Patrol agents arrested Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer in Bellingham. Later on, after a federal judge reduced his bail, Abu Mezer went to New York where he tried to plot an attack on the subway system.

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The Border Patrol spokesman said the agency wants to hear from community members who feel they haven’t been treated well. Sinks said agents have been told to be friendly.

"There are times agents are riding through a property, they’re so focused, they may not even think about a wave, they probably don’t have time to stop," Sinks said. But "if it’s possible it’s always nice to throw a wave in the air and if possible to stop and chat."

"Our agents are aware of what’s going on, they read the news," Sinks added.

DeHaan said air patrols seem to have decreased around his property since the Groen case. He’s still not happy, though, with how border life has changed.

"This is not the southern border. This is not a war zone," he said, moments after a Border Patrol vehicle drove up the dirt road. "They want to make into a war zone."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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