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Zero Tolerance at the Baltimore Cruise Terminal

Release Date: 
December 3, 2012

Baltimore - Customs and Border Protection officers at the Baltimore cruise terminal issued a zero tolerance penalty of $500 Sunday to a cruise ship traveler for possessing a personal quantity of marijuana.

A CBP narcotics detector dog alerted to the presence of a controlled substance in the luggage of a disembarking passenger. A subsequent search by CBP officers resulted in the discovery and seizure of a plastic bag containing marijuana and marijuana cigarette butts weighing half a gram. The man, a Washington, D.C. resident, was assessed a $500 penalty and released.

"The number of travelers we encounter possessing controlled substances is very small compared to the more than 335,000 passengers we inspect at the cruise terminal annually. Nearly all narcotics seizures at the cruise terminal are of amounts considered to be for personal use; however, possessing narcotics remains illegal and travelers face severe consequences, from costly civil penalties up to, and including, possible arrest," said Ricardo Scheller, CBP Port Director for the Port of Baltimore.

Cruise ships sail internationally and CBP inspects each passenger and crewman aboard ship upon arrival. CBP also conducts outbound inspections. One component of the CBP inspectional process is narcotics enforcement.

CBP officers and their narcotics detector dogs have previously discovered narcotics on arriving cruise ships in amounts larger than for personal use.

On Dec. 18, 2010, CBP was involved in the arrest of three crewmen from the Royal Caribbean ship Enchantment of the Seas, who attempted to smuggle more than 2.2 pounds of heroin and more than one pound of cocaine into the United States.

On Jan. 8, 2011, a CBP narcotics detector dog sniffed out 1 pound, 8 ounces of cocaine and 14 ounces of heroin hidden in an equipment locker on board the Royal Caribbean ship Enchantment of the Seas. No arrests were made in the case.

"CBP officers and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners remain vigilant in identifying and dismantling narcotics smuggling networks that attempt to utilize unsuspecting cruise ship operators to transport their contraband to the U.S.," said Scheller.

CBP officers have also discovered handguns that passengers have forgotten to remove from their luggage. In nearly all cases, local authorities seize the handguns and have issued citations and/or made arrests.

On average, CBP seizes 13,717 pounds of drugs a day at our U. S. ports of entry nationwide. In addition to narcotics interdiction, CBP conducts inspection operations and intercepts currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture products or other illicit items.

To find out more about a typical day for CBP please visit the Stats and Summaries website.

Travelers are encouraged to visit the CBP Travel website to learn rules governing travel to and from the U.S.

The Privacy Act prohibits releasing the name of a traveler when there are no criminal charges.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017