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Border patrol agent means an agent with Customs and Border Patrol which is a unit of the Border and Transportation Security Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security. The primary mission of border patrol agent is preventing the entry of terrorists and terrorist weapons, including weapons of mass destruction to the U.S. Border patrol agents patrol nearly 7,000 miles of international land border with Canada and Mexico and nearly 2,000 miles of coastal border. Border patrol agents may question individuals regarding suspicious circumstances, in addition to citizenship matters, when those individuals are stopped at a permanent checkpoint. But any further detention must be based on the individual's consent or probable cause, or upon a valid investigative detention. Detention and search beyond the routine customs inspection requires reasonable suspicion justified by a particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular person of smuggling contraband. Officers may not selectively search vehicles at a border unless they have probable cause or consent to justify the search.
Border patrol agents may consider the behavior of a vehicle's driver in determining whether there is reasonable suspicion to stop that vehicle.[ United States v. Nichols, 142 F.3d 857 (5th Cir. 1998)]