Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Half-Million Dollars’ Worth of Cocaine Found in Shipping Container

About 64 pounds of cocaine, which law enforcement officials estimate has a street value of more than $585,000, was found in a cargo container at a terminal within the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex last week.

US Customs and Border Protection officials announced March 2 that the drug had been found the day before concealed in the panels of an empty refrigeration container. The container originated in El Salvador with vessel stops in Guatemala and Mexico, and had been returned to the terminal after delivering a shipment of cantaloupes to a distributor in California, according to Customs.

The discovery came after customs officers targeted the container during routine operations. Drug sniffing dogs were then brought to the location, and they alerted handlers to one of the containers front panels.

Once the panel was removed, officers found 20 bricks of a white, powdery substance wrapped in plastic. The substance later tested positive for cocaine.

US Customs says it seized nearly five million pounds of narcotics in fiscal year 2011, 20 percent more than the previous fiscal year.