On the outside, they looked like dehumidifiers. A look inside the appliances revealed more than a million bucks worth of contraband. That was the haul intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers––and their trusty narcotics detector dog, Bruno––in Cincinnati over the weekend.
The dog apparently alerted the officers “to a shipment of dehumidifiers, with each one containing vacuum sealed bags containing marijuana” on Saturday, the agency said.
The shipments arrived in the port of Cincinnati “and while conducting canine operations, Bruno alerted to these dehumidifiers that were arriving from Ontario, Canada.”
“Officers inspected the first shipment and discovered vacuum sealed bags hidden inside the dehumidifier cases. Officers tested the substance which was positive for marijuana. Officers then inspected all 12 dehumidifiers and discovered that each one had concealed bags containing marijuana-413 pounds in total,” Customs and Border Protection said in a press release.
CBP said that the shipment was “heading to a company based in Great Britain and the illicit narcotics had an approximate street value of $1.10 million.”
LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, the director of field operations in CBP’s Chicago Field Office, praised the work of Bruno.
“Our canine teams are an invaluable asset to the CBP enforcement strategy,” Sutton-Burke said in the press release. “These interdictions are a testament to the hard work, dedication and training these teams employ on a daily basis protecting America.”
The agency “emphasized that transnational criminals are desperate and will take any measures within their reach to get their illegal narcotics across our borders.”
“Our officers have been trained to identify and stop shipments that pose a threat to our nation and our international counterparts. We are committed to the CBP mission and continue to assist our law enforcement allies around the world,” Richard Gillespie, Cincinnati’s port director, said in the press release.
While recreational cannabis has been legal in a growing number of states––and Democrats in Washington continue to flirt with the idea of ending prohibition on the federal level––the U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues to intercept weed on the U.S. border and in the country’s ports.
In April, shortly after New Mexico became the latest state to legalize adult-use cannabis, the Customs and Border Protection issued a stern warning to anyone carrying weed in the state.
“Border Patrol agents have drug enforcement authority. Marijuana is still a prohibited drug under Schedule 1 of The United States Controlled Substances Act. Therefore, U.S. Border Patrol agents will continue to take appropriate enforcement action against those who are encountered in possession of marijuana anywhere in the United States,” the agency said at the time.
Earlier this month, Border Patrol agents in Texas “seized over 200 pounds of marijuana in two separate events within five hours,” the agency said.
CBP said that agents “assigned to Bike Patrol observed multiple subjects carrying bundles away from the Rio Grande in Escobares [Texas].”
“Additional agents responded and interdicted just as the smugglers attempted to load the narcotics into an awaiting Chevrolet Tahoe. The Tahoe departed the area as the smugglers abandoned the bundles and absconded back toward the river. Agents seized three bundles of marijuana weighing 115 pounds and valued at 92,000 USD,” CBP said in its press release.
Then, shortly after midnight the following day, “agents observed a group of ten subjects walking away from the Rio Grande south of Cuevitas,” ultimately discovering 90 pounds worth of cannabis.
“One of the Mexican nationals, along with the narcotics, was turned over to the Texas Department of Public Safety to face state charges,” the agency said in the press release.