CBP and TSA Intercept Crystal Meth Smugglers at LAX
LOS ANGELES — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) seized 4.46 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, concealed in the undergarment and also hidden within the carry-on baggage of two passengers on Sunday. The estimated value of the seized contraband is $27,000.
“This outbound interception demonstrates CBP's keen expertise, vigilance and commitment in keeping illicit narcotics off the streets, said Carlos C. Martel, Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “Crystal methamphetamine, which is highly addictive and causes irreversible damage to the body, continues to be a popular choice for smugglers.”
“The men and women of TSA aren't actively searching for illegal drugs in our routine screening of passenger belongings, but when these illegal items are identified, we rely on our local and federal law enforcement partners to take action,” Keith Jeffries, TSA LAX federal security director.
A French citizen was intercepted as he attempted to pass through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint with 3.78 pounds of crystal methamphetamine. Planning to transport the narcotics back to his home in French Polynesia, he was found to have concealed two tightly wrapped packages within his groin and upper thigh region.
Additional members of the group the smuggler was traveling with were identified and offloaded from their outbound flight by CBP officers. They were escorted to the CBP inspection area at the Tom Bradley International Terminal for additional inspections.
During the subsequent baggage examinations, two more members of the group were found to have crystal methamphetamine concealed within their hand carry bags. A pat down search on one of the female passengers revealed an additional methamphetamine package concealed in the lining of her undergarment. A total of 4.46 pounds of crystal methamphetamine were seized from the additional two smugglers.
All three passengers were arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, along with the seized contraband, for further investigation.
“These arrests are a great example of the combined Department of Homeland Security and LAX law enforcement teams coming together to stop a trans-continental drug smuggling operation,” said Mitchell Merriam, CBP Los Angeles Area Port Director.
CBP is responsible for inspecting all arriving and departing international passengers, to include conducting searches for narcotics, weapons, currency, agriculture, and other prohibited or illicit products. On a typical day, CBP seizes more than 9,000 pounds of narcotics at and between our nation’s 328 international ports of entry.
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.