A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

U.S. Customs officers seize meth hidden in yarn spools, counterfeit phone fronts at two Kentucky ports

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Louisville on Wednesday discovered a 46-pound shipment of methamphetamine hidden within yarn spools, which was worth more than $400,000.

CBP officers seized a shipment from Mexico that listed the contents as handcrafted gifts.  They held the package for a closer examination and inspected the shipment after a narcotics drug dog alerted to the parcel and x-ray anomalies were noticed.

Meth hidden in yarn spools. (U.S. Customs photo)

The yarn spools were removed, and a white crystalline substance was tested, which tested positive for methamphetamine. A total of 46 pounds of meth was found, which would have a street value of more than $415,000. The parcel was destined for Tacoma, Washington.

“Our CBP officers are committed to the safety and security of the U.S.,” said Thomas Mahn, port director, Louisville. “Our officers and canine teams are part of the best frontline defense in the world. They are exceptional at what they do.”

The CBP says methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Stimulants increase the amount of natural chemical messengers called norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. 

This, in turn, increases blood pressure and heart rate, constricts blood vessels, increases blood glucose, and increases breathing — which can cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, delirium, panic, psychosis, paranoia, and heart failure.

There is also the potential for a heart attack or deadly seizures. Stimulants can be addictive in that individuals begin to use them compulsively.

Meanwhile, officers at the Cincinnati area facility located in Erlanger recently seized 7,500 counterfeit phone cases and 2,040 counterfeit phone fronts from three shipments at local cargo facilities. The fake items came from China and would have been worth $374,020 had they been genuine.

The phone cases and fronts were labeled as Apple and Samsung, with black tape placed over the brand name in an attempt to circumvent a complete inspection. Additionally, the shipments were manifested as “Plastic LCD” with listed values below $500 per shipment.

The shipments were destined for individuals in El Salvador and Laredo, Texas.

“Counterfeit goods can significantly impact consumer health and safety and can damage legitimate trade,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “Our officers work hard to protect the U.S. economy and keep our citizens safe.”

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