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Tag: seizure

Border Patrol Seizes Record Amount of Fentanyl in Tucson Sector

Synthetic opioid tablets

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents have seized a record amount of fentanyl in the Tucson Sector.

So far in fiscal year 2020, the sector seized 57 pounds of the synthetic opioid, which is more than four times the amount seized last fiscal year, KTAR News reports.

Agents this week busted an 18-year-old Nevada woman smuggling more than 8 ounces of fentanyl at the Nogales Port of Entry.

“Really, it was a line of questioning and agent intuition which led to the person admitting that she was carrying these narcotics,” Agent Joe Curran said. “We’re just happy that this had the safest resolution for the person who was smuggling those narcotics, and there was no contamination to those agents or anybody.”

At least 32 fentanyl-related deaths have been reported by the Pima County Health Department.

CBP Seizes Fake Coronavirus Testing Kits at Chicago Airport

Fake coronavirus testing kits seized by CBP. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

CBP officers intercepted a package of fake coronavirus testing kits at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, the agency announced Thursday.

The packages, which came from the U.K, were found at the airport’s mail facility and included prohibited medical drug kits, concluding ones for COVID-19.

“On March 17, 2020, CBP officers intercepted shipments containing ‘Test Kits’ for various viruses and diseases to include COVID-19,” the agency said in a news release. “Not all the COVID-19 test kits were in each parcel, and there was generally just one COVID-19 test kit within groups of other alleged test kits for meningitis, IVF, MRSA, onion, apple, salmonella and others.”

Authorities turned over the packages to the FDA.

“The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) prohibits the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce, or the causing thereof, of any food, drug, device, tobacco product, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded,” the news release stated.

Authorities Seize Record-Breaking $134M Worth of Counterfeit Super Bowl Merchandise

Counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A record-breaking $134 million worth of counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise was seized in Miami ahead of the big game Sunday.

Authorities from CBP, ICE and Homeland Security Investigations targeted international shipments of the counterfeit merchandise, as well as flea markets, retail outlets and street vendors, as part of the ongoing sting Operation Team Player, which focuses on counterfeit sports merchandise. They seized fake jerseys, jewelry, hats, cell-phone accessories and thousands of other bogus items that were to be sold to unsuspecting consumers.

Last year, Operation Team Player seized $24.2 million worth of counterfeit sports merchandise.

“Every day, cargo containers containing billions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit goods enter the United States through its land, sea and air ports of entry,” Steve Francis, director of Homeland Security Investigations’ Intellectual Property Rights, said in a news release. “This year’s record-breaking ‘Operation Team Player’ results affirm HSI’s commitment to protecting American consumers, the economy, and legitimate business, by ensuring Super Bowl 54 is not compromised by transnational criminal networks exploiting fan enthusiasm for illicit profits. Sports fans from around the world, who’ve spent their hard-earned money to support their favorite NFL team, deserve to receive genuine, high-quality officially licensed merchandise in return.”

DEA Helps Seize 20 Tons of Drugs in ‘Largest Known Seizure of Heroin in Afghanistan’

DEA makes major drug bust in Afghanistan.

DEA makes major drug bust in Afghanistan.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA, with the help of American Special Forces and an Afghan counternarcotics, seized a whopping 20 tons of drugs in what officials have described as “the largest known seizure of heroin in Afghanistan, if not the world.”

“This drug seizure alone prevented not only a massive amount of heroin hitting the streets throughout the world but also denied the Taliban money that would have been used to fund insurgent activities in and around the region,” DEA spokesman Steven Bell told ABC News Thursday. 

The estimated street value was $60 million for 12.5 tons of morphine base, 6.4 tons of heroin base, 134 kilograms of opium, 129 kilograms of crystal heroin and 12 kilograms of hashish, all of which was seized during an Oct. 17 raid that was just made public.

“If that was Pablo Escobar‘s stash, that would be considered a lot of frickin’ heroin,” said one combat veteran of the DEA’s 11-year counternarcotics mission to blunt the country’s heroin trade, referring to the Medellin, Colombia, narcotics kingpin killed two decades ago. “That’s going to make a dent in the European market.”

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Has Seized More Than $203M in Cash at Airports, But Rarely Makes Arrests

money-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA has seized more than $203 million in cash at 15 major airports as part of an effort to stop narcotics traffickers between 2005 and mid-2015.

But the USA Today found that the DEA rarely uses information to make arrests or build criminal cases.

In most cases, the DEA seized the money and gave the suspected drug couriers a receipt for cash without filing charges. At times, more than $50,000 has been confiscated.

Trouble is, it’s difficult for travelers to get their money back. Much of the cash is sent to local police departments to assist in the drug crackdown.

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department Resumes Controversial Program That Lets Cops Seize Cash, Property

cash2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s controversial program that allows police to seize and keep cash and property from people who have never been convicted or even charged is resuming.

The Justice Department suspended the “equitable sharing” program last year because of budget cuts.

“In the months since we made the difficult decision to defer equitable sharing payments because of the $1.2 billion rescinded from the Asset Forfeiture Fund, the financial solvency of the fund has improved to the point where it is no longer necessary to continue deferring Equitable Sharing payments,” spokesman Peter J. Carr told the Washington Post. 

The program has a lot of critics who contend police become motivated “more by profit ad less by justice,” the Post wrote.

Asset forfeiture has exploded over the past several years, climbing from less than $1 bill in 2004 to more than $5 billion in 2014.

Other Stories of Interest

TSA Alarmed by Discovery of Real Gun the Size of a Keychain

Tiny gun seized by TSA

Tiny gun seized by TSA

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA has dealt with a record number of gun seizures at airports, but the latest discovery is one of the most unique and disturbing.

Patch reports that security found a real gun the size a key chain and seized the weapon.

“It is a very tiny gun, but it is very real,” Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman, tweeted.

The number of guns reported by TSA screeners increased 22% last year as security seized more than 2,200 firearms.

No more details of the tiny gun were available Tuesday morning.

Other Stories of Interest

Albuquerque Journal: DEA’s Cash Seizure Needs Outside Investigation

By Editorial Board
Albuquerque Journal

A friendly “meet and greet” with a DEA agent in Albuquerque could result in what looks a lot like highway robbery – if the agent doesn’t like what you have to say or how you say it. If you refuse to consent to a search of your luggage, well, there’s consequences for that, too. Your luggage could be confiscated pending agents getting a search warrant from a judge.

And if you’re African-American – perhaps the only African-American male on an Amtrak car – with some cash on you, tag you’re it.

That’s roughly what happened to 22-year-old Joseph Rivers riding the train to Los Angeles in April, in his words, to pursue his dream of making a music video. DEA agents picked him out among passengers in a car to have a chat. Then they decided the $16,000 he was carrying – money he says he saved up to make the video – was somehow linked to drug trafficking.

Whatever probable cause or “hunch” they had, it wasn’t enough to arrest or to charge Rivers with a crime. But it was enough to confiscate his cash.

Rivers’ story, as told in a May 6 Journal UpFront column by Joline Gutierrez Krueger, went viral and got the attention of members of the U.S. House Judicial Committee, including Democratic New Mexico Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Committee members want to know a lot more about why the money was seized and whether the agents were racial profiling when they targeted Rivers.

This is far from the first time this has happened in Albuquerque and elsewhere, and it’s time such questions are being asked.