PHOENIX, Ariz. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists at the Port of Phoenix recently took possession of a large shipment of dried plant pods.
On Friday, August 15, personnel from the Phoenix Sky Harbor CBP cargo office targeted an arriving cargo shipment from an international carrier. An agriculture hold was placed on the shipment, pending an examination by a CBP Officer and Agriculture Specialist. The Phoenix Enforcement Team determined that the shipment, described as “dried plant pods foliage,” was actually poppy pods. Poppy pods are described as a Schedule II Controlled Substance, which led to the entire shipment of 108 cases, or 1,545 pounds, to be put on hold.
The Port of Phoenix alerted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations to further investigate the shipment which had originated from the Netherlands.
Phoenix Port Director Luz Galarza credited her entire team for their efforts that led to the discovery. “The inspection process of in-coming shipments from around the world is a significant part of the job of CBP personnel,” said Galarza. “The cooperation from stakeholders makes the process much quicker to complete, while also providing for the shortest possible shipping experience for legitimate trade to be processed.”
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day, they inspect tens of thousands of international passengers and cargo, and seize prohibited meat, plant materials, animal products and insect pests.
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.