LOS ANGELES—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to narcotics enforcement operations at Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex discovered and seized 64 pounds of cocaine concealed in the panels of an empty refrigerated container. The estimated street value of the confiscated cocaine is $585,000.
On March 1, at approximately 10 am during a routine enforcement operation CBP officers targeted a container parked at one of the terminals. A CBP K-9 enforcement team responded and screened the inside of the container.
CBP narcotics detection dogs alerted to the front panel of the container. Once the panel was removed, CBP officers identified 20 "bricks" wrapped in plastic. One of the bricks was cut, and a white powdery substance was discovered and tested positive for cocaine.
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are on the frontline of defense against terrorism and smuggling of harmful substances into the country. This discovery is one more example of their keen instincs and constant vigilance in protecting our citizens," said Todd C. Owen, CBP director of Field Operations in Los Angeles.
The container originated in El Salvador with vessel stops in Guatemala and Mexico, and was returned to the terminal after delivering a shipment of cantaloupes to a distributor in California.
In fiscal year 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized nearly five million pounds of narcotics, a 20 percent increase from fiscal year 2010.
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.