Sterling, Va. - For the third time in one week, Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport recorded a business courier narcotics seizure when officers discovered nearly six pounds of cocaine Saturday morning that was concealed inside blocked sugar and in soup mix packages.
The Guatemalan courier, who arrived about 2 a.m. from El Salvador, was referred to a routine secondary inspection. During that examination, CBP officers discovered a white, powdery substance in 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. A CBP narcotics detector dog alerted to the seven items, and the white substance field-tested positive for cocaine. Total weight of the cocaine measured 2,641.9 grams or 5 pounds, 13 ounces.
"The recent trend in courier cocaine seizures validates the hard work that Customs and Border Protection officers do every day in ensuring that even routine courier imports comply with all federal laws and import regulations," said Christopher Hess, CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington. "Customs and Border Protection remains committed to stopping illicit narcotics at our nation's borders before it can reach our neighborhoods."
After extensive interviews, authorities released the man to return home to Guatemala. CBP officers barred him from returning to the U.S. for a minimum of five years.
Last weekend, CBP officers discovered cocaine concealed inside a false second lining of plastic jars that two Guatemalan couriers brought to Washington Dulles International Airport. The combined weight of the plastic jars and cocaine measured about 13 pounds. Both men were 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.
For more on CBP's border security mission at our nation's Ports of Entry, please visit CBP.gov Port Security.
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.