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CBP Cincinnati Finds Heroin, Fentanyl

Release Date: 
August 2, 2016

CINCINNATI—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Cincinnati have seized more than 10lbs of heroin in a shipment from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In late June, Narcotics Detector Dog, “Freddy,” alerted to the shipment manifested as “praying items”.  Officers x-rayed the shipment revealing to large objects, each showing anomalies.  A physical inspection revealed two red candles with two bags of a brownish powder inserted in the candles.  Tests of the substance confirmed the presence of heroin.

Candles found with brownish powder inside
Candles found with brownish powder inside

Although this shipment was destined for Ontario, Canada, heroin trafficking and use is a concern in Ohio.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Ohio’s heroin-related overdose deaths, particularly heroin laced with fentanyl, have significantly increased over the past few years.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid legally used by medical professionals to treat extreme pain associated with terminal cancer and end of life. It is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, and is commonly mixed with heroin or sold disguised as heroin to increase the potency.

“The majority of heroin-related death cases we investigate are a result of fentanyl being added to or replacing what the victims think is heroin,” said Thomas Fallon, Investigative Commander of the Hamilton County Heroin Task Force. “Last year Hamilton County had 255 deaths as a result of accidental overdose involving fentanyl. The same year, 216 people died from overdosing on heroin.”

In May 2016, Cincinnati CBP officers seized a shipment of furanyl fentanyl coming from China. Furanyl fentanyl is a variant of fentanyl designed as an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement. This particular shipment was addressed to a residence in New Jersey, another region threatened by increasing heroin-related overdose deaths.

“Narcotics interdiction is an enforcement priority for our officers, and fentanyl is definitely on our radar,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard L. Gillespie. “We are committed to working with our local, national, and international law enforcement counterparts to keep these extremely dangerous drugs off the street.”

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017