Sterling, VA., - While inspecting a Guatemalan man's luggage Saturday Customs and Border Protection officers discovered cocaine concealed inside the double walls of two jars filled with stew.
The man, who requested entry as a courier on business, arrived on a flight from El Salvador and was referred for a secondary examination to have his packages inspected. These inspections ensure that the contents comply with all customs, agriculture and other laws.
Among other things in the courier's packages, CBP officers discovered two jars filled with stew that felt too heavy relative to their size and contents. The jars were emptied and inspected revealing a plastic bag filled with a white, powdery substance that field-tested positive for cocaine secreted between the inner shell of each jar and its stainless steel lining. The combined weight of two plastic bags of cocaine was a little over 1 kilogram, or 2 pounds, 4 ounces.
"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 Christopher Hess, CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington. "CBP officers remain ever vigilant at intercepting illicit narcotics before it can hurt our families and communities."
After extensive interviews the man was not criminally charged. CBP officers processed him for removal however; during the processing he expressed fear of returning to Guatemala. The man was detained and scheduled for an interview with an asylum officer. If his claim is not found credible he will be removed from the U.S. and barred from returning for a minimum of five years.
During fiscal year 2011, which spans Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012, CBP officers at Washington Dulles International Airport intercepted a little more than 50 pounds of cocaine in seven seizures.
For more on CBP's border security mission at our nation's Ports of Entry, please visit CBP Field Operations/Port Security.