CPB seizes nearly $3.3 million in marijuana disguised as mesquite charcoal

CPB seizes nearly $3.3 million in marijuana disguised as mesquite charcoal
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Friday, December 20, 2013 - 4:46pm

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations at the Pharr International Bridge seized $3,281,600 worth of marijuana that was concealed within a commercial shipment of mesquite charcoal.

“This is the second significant seizure of marijuana that our frontline officers have detected within the last two weeks,” said Efrain Solis Jr., Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “This was a rather unique method that was utilized in this failed smuggling attempt to secrete these narcotics but our Officers intuitive enforcement instincts have once again prevailed and kept these drugs from crossing our border.”

The seizure occurred on Wednesday evening; Dec. 18, 2013 after CBP officers encountered a commercial tractor/trailer which contained a shipment of mesquite charcoal that arrived at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility. The manifested charcoal was in a 2001 white Utility trailer being pulled by a white 2005 Freightliner tractor. A CBP officer referred the shipment to the commercial vehicle non-intrusive imaging system and subsequently the conveyance was sent for a secondary examination.

Utilizing all available tools and resources, officers discovered packages of suspected narcotics comingled within the charcoal bags.

Officers extracted a total of 5,518 packages of alleged marijuana weighing approximately 1,488.5 kilograms (3,281.6 lbs.) from inside the bags. CBP-OFO seized the marijuana, the merchandise and the tractor/trailer.

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