BALTIMORE – Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted a shipment of poppy pods in Baltimore on Wednesday that were destined to an address in Cecil County, Maryland.
Officers inspected the express delivery shipment, which was manifested as “Decoration” and arrived from the United Kingdom, and discovered three brown paper bags. Officers opened the bags and found a combined 13 pounds of poppy pods.
Officers extracted and tested samples of the poppy pod seeds, which revealed the presence of morphine and codeine. Morphine and codeine are naturally occurring opiates in opium poppies.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, opium is a highly addictive non-synthetic narcotic that is considered a schedule II controlled substance.
Only licensed entities may lawfully import opium poppies and only from legitime sources in regulated countries. For example, the pharmaceutical industry lawfully imports and extracts opioid alkaloids from mature dried plants for medical purposes. However, consumers are prohibited from importing opium poppy pods and opium straw, which is the poppy plant minus the seeds, and cultivating opium poppies in the United States is illegal.
CBP officers seized the poppies for destruction.
“Communities across the United States continue to struggle with the opioid epidemic, and so Customs and Border Protection officers remain committed to intercepting shipments of opioid products, including in their raw form, whenever we encounter them,” said Marc Calixte, CBP’s Acting Area Port Director in Baltimore.
CBP seized 4,732 pounds of illicit narcotics at our nation's borders every day during fiscal year 2021. Learn more about what CBP accomplished during "A Typical Day" in 2021.
CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.
Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos, and CBP’s Office of Field Operations on Instagram at @cbpfieldops.