Twenty bricks of cocaine worth $585,000 was found during a routine inspection at the port of Los Angeles this week, authorities said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers picked a container randomly and, when a drug-sniffing dog alerted, discovered the bricks, which weighed 64 pounds, according to today's statement from the agency.
What's strange about this case is that ...
... the refrigerator container, from El Salvador (it also made stops in Guatemala and Mexico), had already been out of the port and was returned mostly empty, ostensibly for its journey back home.
It had been used to deliver cantaloupes to a California distributor, according to the CBP.
The coke was discovered about 10 a.m. yesterday during a canine screening, the agency says: The drugs were "concealed in the panels ... "
Todd C. Owen, CBP's director of field operations in Los Angeles, said:
This discovery is one more example of their keen instincs and constant vigilance in protecting our citizens.
Makes you wonder if this is the new way to smuggle drugs into the U.S. though: It's too easy, and no one gets arrested.
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Cartels are already known to try to pass the goods through the U.S.-Mexico border by sending in several cars loaded with narcotics, knowing full well that one or two will be caught.
It's the price of doing business.
The CBP says that its drug seizures increased by one-fifth last year.