Champlain CBP Officers Thwart Major Ecstasy Smuggling Attempt
Champlain, N.Y. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Field Operations today announced the seizure of approximately 62 pounds of methylene-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), better known as the club-drug "Ecstasy." The seizure resulted in the arrest of two Canadian citizens.
On Sept. 17, CBP officers encountered 40-year-old Santiago Roque Peralta and his 12-year-old son, as well as 39-year-old Laura Nin Nin and her 11-year-old son, all Canadian citizens from Laval, Quebec, as they applied for admission into the United States at the Champlain, N.Y. Port of Entry. Both Roque Peralta and Nin Nin made a negative declaration and advised CBP that they were enroute to Bronx, N.Y. to visit friends and family. Both subjects exhibited extreme nervousness and had difficulty answering additional questions related to their itinerary. All subjects were referred for a secondary enforcement exam and to confirm their immigration status.
During the inspection of subject's vehicle, CBP officers utilized a portable contraband detector device known as a "Buster" that locates density anomalies concealed behind opaque surfaces, such as door panels and fuel tanks. When CBP officers used the device on the vehicle's spare tire, they received a higher than normal reading. The tire was removed from the vehicle and there was a noticeable weight difference from that of an average tire. A subsequent gamma-ray scan of the vehicle revealed several anomalies in the spare tire. The spare tire was removed from the vehicle and cut open, revealing 82 vacuum-sealed bags of tablets which later field-tested positive for MDMA. The bags were found to contain approximately 107,871 pills with a total weight of 62 pounds.
"The Ecstasy seized by CBP has a street value of approximately $2.1 million," said Champlain Port Director Paul Mongillo. "This significant interception of Ecstasy has prevented a very dangerous drug from reaching our streets."
Roque Peralta and Nin Nin were arrested on federal charges of importation and possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. They were turned over to agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation and prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York. Both minor children were released to family members in Canada.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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.