CBP seizes more than $18M worth of meth hidden in broccoli. But there’s no threat at the border, right?

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Pharr, Texas – Another monumental bust was achieved by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently, where over $18 million worth of dangerous narcotics were seized. Thanks to the stellar work performed the agency, over 1,000 pounds of drugs were prevented from flooding into the state of Texas.

 

 

According to a press release by the CBP, agents from the Office of Field Operations working at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility intercepted over half a ton of narcotics.

The drugs seized consisted of 895 pounds of meth, 202 pounds of marijuana, nearly 9 pounds of heroin, and just over 3 pounds of cocaine. From the 432 packages of various drugs recovered by agents, the estimated street value of the seizure totaled out to $18,418,500.

 

CBP seizes more than M worth of meth hidden in broccoli.  But there's no threat at the border, right?
Photo of seized narcotics – CBP

The enormous bust took place on February 16th, after agents assigned to the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility noticed something odd about a trailer hauling a commercial shipment of fresh broccoli.

What set them to further examine this load of broccoli was that agents were able to notice out of place bundles among the cargo. This was achieved via non-intrusive imaging equipment.

This technology allows the CBP to use large-scale X-ray and Gammaray imaging systems to quickly and efficiently examine large cargo loads for suspected illegal substances.

Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, who oversees the Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/ Anzalduas, had the following to say about the recent seizure:

“This was truly a notable seizure in the commercial environment. Our officers’ ability to maintain an excellent enforcement posture while keeping trade flowing and uninterrupted is one of our main priorities.” 

The CBP OFO appropriated the narcotics as well as the trailer used to transport the packages of them. The case is still currently under investigation and is being headed by the Homeland Security Investigations.

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This isn’t the first time that agents recovered over $18 million worth of narcotics either. At literally the same location in May of last year, CBP OFO agents at the Pharr International Bridge seized 929.5 pounds of meth in a single bust. 

That seizure took place specifically on May 17th, 2019. The similarities of these two busts didn’t just end with the street value of narcotics seized or the place where agents appropriated the drugs, either.

While the latest seizure was found hidden among a shipment of broccoli on February 16th, 2020, this 2019 load was hidden among a shipment of carrots. 

 

CBP seizes more than M worth of meth hidden in broccoli.  But there's no threat at the border, right?
Photo of seized meth from 2019 – CBP

Last year’s load was detected by using non-intrusive imaging equipment in concurrence with the K-9 team working at the cargo facility.

The tractor/trailer in question hosted a total of 384 packages of methamphetamine. 

Then-Port Director Sylvia Briones had the following to say about the accomplishment at the time:

“This is truly a huge, notable interception of hard narcotics accomplished by our frontline officers in the cargo environment. Our officers’ mindset and dedication is genuinely apparent as evidenced by this outstanding seizure.”

You would think that the smugglers who lost their $18 million worth of product would have figured out by now that this cargo facility has a knack for locating drugs hidden within vegetable cargo.

Although, it’s preferable that cartels trying to introduce this poison into the country remain this oblivious. 

Why anyone would be against the amazing work the CBP manages to accomplish is beyond me. There’s no telling how many lives were saved by the agents who aided in apprehensions of this magnitude. From all of us at Law Enforcement Today, we extend our sincerest appreciation at the efforts exerted by this amazing agency. 

Let’s not forget about their bust last month.

A grandmother and her granddaughter are accused of trying to smuggle 200 pounds of methamphetamine through a California border checkpoint.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Andrade Port of Entry, near the state line between Arizona and California, stopped the pair around 12:30 p.m. on January 19th.

The 65-year old woman and her 19-year old granddaughter, both U.S. citizens, were driving a Dodge Durango that border officers examined with a drug-sniffing dog. According to CBP, the dog reacted strongly enough to refer the vehicle for deeper inspection.

Authorities started digging through the SUV and ended up finding 299 packages of meth in the vehicle’s roof, doors and quarter panels. The packages weighed an estimated 219 pounds, worth around $416,000 on the street, CBP said.

Both women were arrested and turned over to Homeland Security, according to officials.

“These cases are just examples of the apprehensions CBP officers catch on a daily basis,” said Pete Flores, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego. “CBP officers are vigilant to stop those who would do harm in our communities at the border, as they attempt to enter the U.S.”

CBP seizes more than M worth of meth hidden in broccoli.  But there's no threat at the border, right?
Customs and Border Patrol K-9

Law Enforcement Today recently got an exclusive look inside of the facilities that helps prepare these incredible dogs for the difficult job of police work.

AK9I is a premier K9 solutions provider located close to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. With over 176 acres of training grounds, onsite dormitories, and a beautifully maintained and fully staffed 226 run kennel.

AK9I has a multitude of offsite training locations to enhance the training experience such as abandoned schools, a decommissioned battleship, parks, massive car lots, local businesses, and more.

They also have an explosive range and lab on property through a robust partnership with Point One USA that allows them to offer nearly unparalleled training on explosives.

There are areas for ranges that can accommodate both live fire and simmunitions training. It is a one stop shop for your department’s K9 needs.

CBP seizes more than M worth of meth hidden in broccoli.  But there's no threat at the border, right?
AK9I

 

They offer a 5-week single purpose detection dog course, a 6-week law enforcement specific handler course, an 8-week dual purpose handler course, and a 13-week handler/ trainer course.

According to James Overton, the Director of Marketing and Business Development, AK9I primarily trains;

“…on the odor detection side, whether it be explosives, narcotics got dogs who are trained to find bed bugs. You’ve got dogs that are trained to find cadavers, electronics or currency or food. If it has an odor, you can train the dog to find it.

There are so many capabilities that the canine brings to the table that regular humans just can’t do. The military did a massive research study that determined the best way to detect explosives was a K9.”

The staff of AK9I is comprised of former military and law enforcement that have extensive experience as K9 handlers and trainers. They have trained dozens of local, state, and federal law enforcement K9 handlers, as well as hundreds of DoD military working dog handlers.

The facility offers a phenomenal pool of dogs, such as German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Labrador Retrievers, and Dutch Shepherds.

AK9I – Discover Your Purpose

Whether you are a transitioning service member or veteran looking for an exciting and fulfilling career in the K-9 world, a first responder looking to augment your department’s capability, or a civilian looking to break in to the K-9 industry AK9I has the facility, staff, and experience to help accomplish that goal. AK9I is approved by the Virginia State Approving Agency to provide education and training under Chapter 33 of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. In addition to being able to utilize your education benefits to cover the cost of the course, we include a K-9, from proven working lines that has passed rigorous screening, as well as housing in our new dorm rooms during the course at NO ADDITIONAL COST! We also offer additional training beyond what other schools offer on regular odor detection. With our state of the art explosives lab, and EOD range on our premises thanks to our strategic partnership with Point One USA, our students get unparalleled training on IED recognition and home made explosives. We have top notch instructors in the areas of patrol operations to help those students interested in dual purpose dogs that fine tune their K-9 partners to be formidable assets for their organization. With 200 acres of training area, and dozens of off site locations designed to replicate every scenario you’ll encounter in the field, as well as a state of the art kennel facility, AK9I is your complete solution for all things K-9.Visit ak9i.com/enroll to learn more!

Posted by AK9I on Monday, September 2, 2019

 

All of the canines have undergone extensive medical and physical screening and evaluations, and each comes with a one-year health guarantee. The designated handler, attends the facility and is paired with a canine partner and given the opportunity to bond.

AK9I offers a Patrol K9 Operations Training course, which, according to their website includes:

The handler/canine team will be taught the basics of agility and obedience through obstacle course training and combat-related tasks such as long downs, vertical/horizontal carries, ladder climbs, window entries and tactical movements.

• Aggression Training includes:
• Single and multi-person apprehension
• Apprehension from vehicle
• Apprehension with gunfire
• Vehicle extractions
• Handler protection
• Prisoner escorts
• Recalls and call-outs

At the end of this portion of Patrol K9 training, students will have a comprehensive understanding of canine drives (food, play, prey, hunt, defense, fight, and pack) and will be able to read and activate these canine drives as necessary to manage the canine’s behavior in aggression situations.

AK9I is also continually developing new programs as the market demands it.

“One of the programs that we’re looking at doing is for the active shooter deterrents in schools, “ Overton stated. “We see that getting a lot of bipartisan support because we’re not putting another firearm in schools. We’re putting a canine team in schools. The canine solution is sort of a bridging solution that brings those two people together.”

Any departments, veterans or individuals that are interested in the canine handler training programs can contact American K9 Interdiction directly at Tel: (757) 304-9600 or email: [email protected]

www.ak9i.com


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