Sumas, Wash. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Sumas port of entry arrested a 53-year-old Surrey, British Columbia, man on January 14 for attempting to smuggle into the United States 162,415 tablets of Ecstasy worth nearly $2 million.
Paul Douglas, a Canadian citizen, was entering Washington State driving a commercial tractor-trailer combination shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday. Douglas declared that he was en route to Yakama, Wash. to pick up a load of fruit and return to Canada.
A detailed inspection of the tractor-trailer, which included a gamma X-ray image scan, resulted in the discovery of two cardboard boxes containing the numerous vacuum sealed bags of the multicolored Ecstasy pills in the cab of his truck. Douglas was immediately taken into custody by two CBP officers and escorted to a holding cell.
"This is the ninth major Ecstasy seizure, totaling more than one million pills, in our area in one year," said Area Port Director Greg Alvarez. "Protecting the homeland from illicit narcotics and the harm they pose to the youth of our nation is a priority mission for CBP."
A field examination of the pills utilizing a narcotic test kit resulted in a positive response for the properties of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), the main narcotic ingredient in Ecstasy. MDMA was classified as a Schedule I drug in 1985, meaning it is deemed to have no medical use and a high potential for abuse. Under a United Nations agreement it has also been criminalized in most countries in the world. The long-term health effects from abuse of the drug are generally of concern to public health officials.
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.