Philadelphia - It was a busy Thanksgiving weekend for Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists at Philadelphia International Airport. Officers seized khat and agriculture products shipped via international air cargo, and seized nearly 20 grams of marijuana and more than 1,850 pieces of drug paraphernalia from Friday through Sunday. The narcotics-related seizures were on travelers who returned from the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam.
"Narcotics and narcotics-related materials are still considered illegal in the U.S., and CBP officers will continue to enforce U.S. laws at our nation's ports of entry," said Allan Martocci, CBP port director for Area Port of Philadelphia. "Travelers with marijuana scent on their clothing, or who smuggle narcotics on their person must realize that they make themselves easy targets for our narcotics detector canines."
Three passengers were each issued $500 zero tolerance penalties for possessing nearly 20 combined grams, about 3/4 of an ounce, of marijuana. A CBP narcotics canine alerted to two of those travelers and officers discovered marijuana concealed in each passengers' groin area. CBP officers also seized 1,846 metallic marijuana-smoking tubes from one traveler, and another traveler abandoned 12 pieces of narcotics paraphernalia. All five passengers returned to Philadelphia from Amsterdam's Cannabis Cup. All five were released.
Meanwhile, CBP officers and agriculture specialists at the international air mail facility seized about 10 pounds of khat, nearly 22 pounds of pork products, nearly five pounds of chestnuts, and 2.5 pounds of persimmons.
"We have traditionally seen an increase in prohibited agriculture products shipped to the U.S. during the holidays," said Martocci. "CBP agriculture specialists are our front-line protectors against the accidental introduction of highly contagious plant and animal diseases, and invasive insect pests. We take our job of protecting our nation's vital agriculture industry very serious."
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.