Over the past two weeks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati intercepted three shipments of cocaine in freight consisting of cosmetics, peanuts, and personal effects. All three illustrate a different way criminals attempt to smuggle narcotics and how officers use their experience and training to pinpoint these narcotic shipments.
On August 5, officers inspected a shipment imported from Punta Cana, Mexico and destined to Montlhéry, France. A decorative wooden turtle in the shipment caught officers’ attention when CBP Narcotics Detector Dog “Bruno” alerted to the presence of narcotics. The turtle contained a white powder that tested positive for properties of cocaine. The turtle and cocaine weighed about four pounds.
Four days later, officers discovered more cocaine in a shipment of cosmetics destined for New South Wales, Australia. The cocaine was in small aluminum foil packets wrapped in black cellophane and tucked under the pressed cosmetic powder. The shipment contained over 42 pounds of cocaine and pressed powder cosmetics.
On August 11, CBP Narcotics Detector Dog “Bico” was working incoming freight from Mexico and alerted to a shipment of roasted peanuts. The shipment, coming from Anguilla, contained over two ounces of cocaine concealed within the nuts. Smugglers packaged the drugs in tiny bundles about the same size as the nuts to avoid x-ray exam anomalies. The package was destined to a private residence in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.
The Director of Field Operations for the Chicago Field Office, LaFonda Sutton-Burke, emphasized that transnational criminals are desperate and will take any measures within their reach to get their illegal narcotics across our borders. “Our officers have been trained to identify and stop shipments that pose a threat to our nation and our international counterparts. We are committed to the CBP mission and continue to assist our law enforcement allies around the world.”