CINCINNATI–- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agriculture specialists in Cincinnati stopped record-breaking numbers of illegal shipments from entering the country in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. From October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, Cincinnati seized 6,738 shipments, ranking the port in fifth-place for seizures among all 328 CBP ports of entry nationwide. Additionally, Cincinnati agriculture specialists issued 7,240 Emergency Action Notifications (EANs), the highest number of agriculture seizures ever recorded at the port.
Cincinnati officers seized 2,111 shipments containing counterfeit documents, currency, and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations, with a total estimated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of more than $149 million. The top three categories for MSRP were jewelry ($58.5 million), watches ($46.2 million), and electronics ($27.7 million). In addition to thousands of seizures, 5,177 shipments valued at $246.3 million were referred into the IPR abandonment process, a program that saved taxpayers more than $49 million.
Notable counterfeit seizures include:
- A shipment from China containing 85 fake Rolex watches worth $5.8 million
- Multiple shipments containing thousands of counterfeit Covid-19 vaccination cards and vaccine seals from China
- Fake jewelry bearing trademarks from Tiffany, Cartier, Bvlgari, and others, valued at $4.26 million
- 50 counterfeit Tokyo Olympic Gold Medals
- 681 shipments containing 22,989 fake identification documents
Officers seized 10 shipments containing currency and monetary instruments in FY 2021 compared to just two the year prior. In January, one inspection led officers to the discovery of fake postal money orders lacking security features. If genuine, the money orders would have been worth $912,000.
Cincinnati officers seized 1,451 shipments containing 12,540 pounds of illegal narcotics and prescription drugs during FY 2021, more than twice the amount seized the previous year. Cocaine topped the list at 1,536 pounds, but officers found plenty of methamphetamine (1,531 pounds), and marijuana (1,053 pounds). Also high on the list were khat and DMT. The total street value for the cocaine and methamphetamine is $22,994,400 and $10,414,050 respectively.
Officers seized numerous other drugs like ecstasy, fentanyl, illegally imported or fake prescription medications, and synthetics such as GHB, including:
- 44 pounds of cocaine coated corn flakes with a street value of up to $2.8 million
- $627K methamphetamine concealed inside decorative blankets
- 580 bottles and 43 boxes of illegally imported Viagra and “Miracle Honey”
- 29 seizures containing a total of 102.4 pounds of fentanyl
Other seizures included weapons, general merchandise, and shipments seized at the request of partner government agencies.
Supervisory CBP Agriculture Specialist Barbara Hassan commended her team for creating a new baseline for agriculture enforcement over the past 12 months. “International cargo continues to grow exponentially at the Port of Cincinnati, and with that comes new risks from an agricultural and natural resources perspective. Our specialists have shown they are skilled at identifying these potential dangers and will continue to protect the country from agriculture threats, dangerous biologicals, and invasive pests and diseases.”
Agriculture seizures, or EANs, were 76% higher, and pest interceptions soared more than 767% higher than in FY 2020. Some of these threats include:
- A shipment infested with Khapra beetle, one of the 100 worst invasive species in the world
- A statue head stuffed with tailless whip scorpions now housed at the Cincinnati Zoo
- 1,300 pounds of moon cakes
- Live trees smuggled as brackets and vacuum pumps
“The knowledge and unwavering dedication displayed by our uniformed officers, agriculture specialist, import and entry specialist, and those employees that support frontline operations is key to our success,” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director Field Operations-Chicago. “Regardless of the environments our men and women are assigned – airports, international mail facilities, express consignment cargo hubs, and along the Great Lakes. We are all linked through our commitment to serve our country.”
“The men and women at the Port of Cincinnati are committed to protecting America’s border while enabling legitimate trade and travel,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “We will continue to anticipate, identify, and address all risks and benefits that come with the accelerated pace international trade has experienced over the past few years. I am very proud of my team. Their dedication to the CBP mission is second to none.”
CBPs nationwide fiscal year numbers are also now available on our website on the enforcement page: CBP Enforcement Statistics Fiscal Year 2022 | U.S. Customs and Border Protection. For further context, please refer to our press release located here.
CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.