To the untrained eye, it looked like a shipment of beach chairs from China.
But when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers took a closer look at the shipping container at the Port of Baltimore, they discovered something else: four black bags. And in those bags were 125 bricks of a white powdery substance that tests revealed to be cocaine.
The bricks weighed roughly 333 pounds and have a street value of about $10 million, officials said. The seizure on June 18 set a record for the agency, besting the 311 pounds that was seized in April 2007.
“This seizure illustrates the complexities of Customs and Border Protection’s multifaceted missions, from ensuring that imported goods comply with U.S. trade regulations to interdicting dangerous drugs that harm our communities,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s director of field operations in Baltimore. “CBP officers remain vigilant at our nation’s ports of entry to significantly impact transnational criminal organizations that push dangerously unsafe consumer goods or dangerous drugs.”
No arrests have been made in the case, which is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations agents.
In addition to CBP officers, Homeland Security Investigations agents and state and local agencies that are part of HSI’s Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) participated in the bust.
The goal of BEST is to combat transnational criminal organizations with the help of federal, state, local, tribal and international law enforcement authorities.
The container originated in China and traveled through Panama before arriving in Baltimore. The beach chairs were slated to be delivered to an address in Maryland, officials said.