STERLING, Va., – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) at Washington Dulles International Airport seized more than two pounds of cocaine from a Guatemalan woman Friday that was concealed inside 20 bottles of capsules marked as various natural medicines.
The woman, who requested entry as a courier on business, arrived on a flight from El Salvador along with her minor daughter, also a Guatemalan citizen. As a courier, she was referred for a routine secondary examination to have her packages inspected. These inspections ensure that the contents comply with all customs, agriculture and other laws.
Among other things she carried, CBP officers discovered 20 bottles packaged together and labeled as various types of natural medicine. A CBP officer opened one of the bottles and noticed that one of the capsules was deformed and had a white powdery substance caked on the outside. The officer opened the capsule and a field-test determined the substance to be cocaine.
CBP officers inspected the rest of the bottles and found that each contained similar capsules filled with cocaine.
The total weight of the cocaine was a little more than 2 pounds, 4 ounces. This cocaine could have a street value of over $116,000.
“Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport have proven to be exceptionally skilled at discovering unique concealment methods, and this seizure is illustrative of that skill,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington. “CBP officers remain ever vigilant at intercepting illicit narcotics before they can hurt our families and communities.”
After extensive interviews, authorities were satisfied that the woman was a courier. After completion of her immigration processing by CBP she was returned abroad the same day and is barred from returning to the U.S. for a minimum of five years. Her daughter returned with her.
“Every day at Washington Dulles International Airport we welcome thousands of legitimate business travelers to the United States,” said Biondi. “But this is one type of business that we just can’t allow into the U.S.”
During fiscal year 2013, which spans Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013, CBP officers at Washington Dulles International Airport intercepted a little more than 12 pounds of cocaine in four seizures.
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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.