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U.S. border posts to get new screeners

Sept. 26, 2011 at 5:30 PM

BILLERICA, Mass., Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Advanced screening for both passengers and merchandise is soon to be deployed at the United States' northern and southern borders, the company asked to supply the $34.9 million security system package said.

American Science and Engineering, Inc. recently announced similar advances in selling its Z Portal cargo screening systems in Latin America, where governments have upped allocations for security equipment in response to drug and human trafficking threats.

The Z Portal screening system claims to be the answer to the border authorities' urgent need to be able to screen people and goods at a fast, even pace and not to choke international traffic at land frontiers because of delays in the screening process.

The screening systems on land borders have been cited as a priority measure especially to control immigration and check the flow of narcotics from across the borders, especially those in the south.

Central and South American states believed to be on the path of the drug trade to North America are under mounting international pressure to do more to stem the multibillion-dollar narcotics trade. Only a few governments have responded to the criticism and begun investing in advanced equipment to deal with the contraband exports of cocaine, heroin and synthetic drugs to North America.

Organized crime has begun responding to the tighter controls and moved operations to the Caribbean and increased narcotics smuggling through sea-borne and submersible craft, many of which are unmanned.

The Z Portal systems will be installed at land borders and will provide border authorities with multi-view, drive-through screening systems capable of scanning cars, vans, trucks and their cargo for concealed threats and contraband. The company didn't mention the border points or name the purchasing agency.

Z Portal provider AS&E, which has headquarters in Billerica, Mass., said its systems will be deployed in two sizes -- one to screen large trucks and another to inspect passenger vehicles.

"The Z Portal systems will provide our customer with advanced technology to quickly and easily detect narcotics, terrorist weapons, and other contraband," company President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Fabiano said.

Fabiano said the company was working closely with border officers to meet their detection and performance requirements using the Z Portal Backscatter technology.

AS&E says the high-throughput Z Portal systems can inspect large numbers of cars and trucks at the border crossings.

With its compact profile, the Z Portal system is said to be ideal for high-traffic locations with space constraints and a high-throughput requirement. The Z Portal system is safe for drivers, operators, cargo, and the environment, the company said.

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