Sterling, Va., - Guatemalan couriers have kept Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport busy this September after officers recorded a fourth courier cocaine seizure this month.
The courier arrived from Guatemala shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday, and was referred to a routine secondary examination. CBP officers discovered a white, powdery substance concealed inside the false inner linings of two white jars. A CBP narcotics detector dog alerted and a subsequent field-test proved positive for cocaine. The combined weight of the jars and the cocaine - which hasn't been extracted - measured about 583 grams, or a little more than 1 pounds, 4 ounces.
After extensive interviews, authorities released the man to return home to Guatemala. CBP officers barred him from returning to the United States for a minimum of five years.
"I'm hopeful that these recent seizures send a loud and clear message to the bad guys that using business couriers to import their deadly poison into the U.S. is a failed proposition," said Christopher Hess, CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington, D.C. "Customs and Border Protection remains resolute to stopping illicit narcotics at our nation's borders before it can reach our neighborhoods."
This is the third consecutive weekend that CBP officers seized cocaine that was concealed within products in courier packages.
Sept. 15, CBP officers discovered cocaine secreted inside a false second lining of seven plastic containers that two Guatemalan couriers brought to Washington Dulles. The combined weight of plastic jars and cocaine measured about 5.7 kilograms, or 12 pounds, 10 ounces.
Sept. 22, CBP officers discovered cocaine inside two hard brown bricks labeled as "Dulce de Panela" which is a molasses-like, brown candy made of unrefined sugar, and in five packages of "Hilachas," a beef soup in another courier's packages. Total weight of the cocaine measured 2.6 kilograms, or 5 pounds, 13 ounces.
These three men were also returned to Guatemala and barred for a minimum of five years.
During fiscal year 2011, which spans Oct. 1, 2010 through Sept. 30, 2011, CBP officers at Washington Dulles International Airport intercepted a little more than 50 pounds of cocaine in seven seizures.
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.