Federal agents: Package labels belie illicit contents

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CBP officers reportedly busy intercepting large amount of contraband 

Packages containing khat get intercepted by federal agents at the international express courier facility near Philadelphia International Airport on Friday, March 7.                              Photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Packages containing khat get intercepted by federal agents at the international express courier facility near Philadelphia International Airport on Friday, March 7. Photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Among CPB officers’ tasks is examining incoming international parcels to hunt for a wide variety of prohibited and illicit products, such as weapons, narcotics, currency, insects and food, a CBP news release said.

“We know that U.S. consumers will attempt to purchase products they know to be illicit or illegal from overseas sources through the internet. Our best advice to them is caveat emptor, buyer beware,” said Tarance Drafts, acting CBP Port Director for the Port of Philadelphia. “Inspecting international parcels for dangerous and illicit products remains a Customs and Border Protection enforcement priority. There’s a great chance we’ll get our hands on your purchase before you do.”

The seizures started Feb. 27 when CBP officers intercepted a parcel manifested as “Adidas junior bags” destined for Cromwell, Conn. Officers X-rayed the parcel and detected an anomaly that proved to be 24 pounds, 4 ounces of khat. CBP officers then made two more khat seizures Wednesday, March 5; one weighed 22 pounds, 3 ounces and was in a parcel manifested as “document procedures” destined for Skokie, Ill. The second parcel, labeled “reports,” contained 15 pounds, 14 ounces of khat bound for West Dundee, Ill., the release said.

CBP officers also seized the codeine tablets Wednesday in a parcel identified as “samples” headed to Rochester, Minn. The next day, CBP officers made two additional khat seizures. The first, 23 pounds, 9 ounces, was in a parcel manifested as “mobile phone accessories” with a Minneapolis address. The second, 16 pounds, 12 ounces, was in a parcel labeled “project development group report” and destined for Skokie, Ill. Also on Thursday, March 6, a parcel containing steroids: 10 vials of 10 ml each of Decatest 350 and six vials of 10 ml each of Megabol 275. The parcel was manifested as “Non Documents Amino Methyl Propanal” and destined for Everett, Mass., the release said.

In the largest seizure this week, CBP officers seized 46 pounds, 15 ounces of khat on Friday, March 7, that arrived in a parcel masquerading as “decorative artistic handicrafts” and destined for Riverwoods, Ill., the release said.

The 150 combined pounds of khat, classified by the World Health Organization as a drug of abuse in 1980, has a street value of about $45,000.The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies khat as a schedule 1 narcotic when the leaves are freshly picked. Its principal components, cathine and cathinone, are considered controlled substances in the U.S., the release said.

 

 

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Tags: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), World Health Organization

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