Baltimore— ‘Tis the season for giving, but sometimes it’s better to just seize.
That was the sentiment for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Baltimore after they discovered nearly 128 pounds of cocaine Wednesday in a shipping container from Colon, Panama.
This is CBP’s largest cocaine seizure in Baltimore since April 2007 when CBP officers discovered 310 pounds of cocaine concealed in three duffle bags inside a refrigerated container that arrived from Ecuador.
CBP officers conducted a routine inspection of the container using non-intrusive imaging technologies when they detected anomalies in a commercial shipment of car parts. After opening the container, CBP officers discovered that the anomalies were two gym bags that contained a combined 50 bricks of a white-powdery substance that field-tested positive for cocaine.
CBP officers seized the cocaine, which weighed a combined 58 kilograms, or nearly 128 pounds, and had an estimated street value of about $4 million.
“Narcotics interdiction remains a top Customs and Border Protection enforcement priority, and this case illustrates how CBP officers leverage non-intrusive imaging technologies to intercept dangerous drugs and to help keep our communities safe,” said Dianna Bowman, acting CBP port director for the Port of Baltimore.
Non-intrusive inspection (NII) technology enables CBP to detect contraband (e.g., narcotics and weapons) and materials that pose potential nuclear and radiological threats. NII technologies enable CBP to screen or examine a larger portion of the stream of commercial traffic while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade, cargo, and passengers.
CBP officers in the Port of Baltimore seized less than one pound of cocaine in fiscal year 2012, and nearly 22 pounds in 2011. During 2007, CBP officers seized a combined 526 pounds of cocaine in three incidents, the last year of significant CBP cocaine seizures in Baltimore.
CBP routinely conducts random inspection operations on passengers and air cargo searching for narcotics, currency, weapons and other prohibited or illicit products.
For more information on CBP's border security mission at our nation's Ports of Entry, please visit Field Operations/Port Security.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.