A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

U.S. CBP officials mark record-breaking increases in illicit, dangerous items arriving at port of Louisville

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville are seeing major increases in illicit and dangerous items arriving at the port of Louisville, with some seizures breaking previous records.

CBP officers around the nation are stationed at Express Consignment Operation hubs to examine packages that arrive or transit through the U.S. nightly. The officers in Louisville have seized contraband that could damage the economy and U.S. agriculture, and are dangerous or fatal if ingested.

Methamphetamine siezed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at Port of Louisville in April (U.S. CBP photo)

Louisville CBP utilizes a layered enforcement strategy that includes advanced electronic data, x-ray screening, canine resources, rapid onsite identification of unknown substances, and the experience and knowledge of the officers to find these illegal shipments. So far, during this Fiscal Year (October 1 to current), CBP officers have seen an increase in Cocaine seizures (769%), Ketamine seizures (1,338%), Methamphetamine seizures (796%) and Steroid seizures (3,667%) in comparison to last Fiscal Year’s totals (October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020); and this fiscal year still has 45 days left.

Another record that has been set this year is the amount of counterfeit currency that has been seized. During the last fiscal year, CBP recorded zero counterfeit currency seizures, but so far, this fiscal year, officers have seized $122.5 million of phony bills with a couple notable seizures occurring just last week. On August 9, CBP officers seized $61.4 million of counterfeit currency enroute from Turkey and destined to Memphis, Tennessee. On August 10, CBP officers seized another shipment that contained $40.77 million of counterfeit currency enroute from Turkey, but this time destined to Charlotte, North Carolina. The shipments were listed as prop money and were in $100 denominations. These counterfeits were ultimately turned over to the U.S. Secret Service.

Officers are also protecting the consumer from deadly medications. Many consumers are going online and purchasing adulterated honey, laced with the erectile dysfunction medications Sildenafil and Tadalafil. Since the start of this fiscal year, officers have seized almost nine tons, an eye-popping 17,636 pounds of this dangerous product. The FDA has warned consumers against purchasing these products, but CBP officers are seeing these shipments become common place.

“The knowledge and unwavering dedication displayed by our uniformed officers, Import Specialist, and those employees that support frontline operations is key to our success,” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations, Chicago Field Office. “Regardless of the environments our men and women are assigned, we are all linked through our commitment to serve our country and our communities.”

Other notable trends: CBP officers in Louisville have seized $12 million of counterfeit items when compared to last year. Weapons seizures are up 121%, counterfeit passports seizures are up 88%, FDA seizures are up 883%, and pest interceptions are up 525%.

“The work of our Officers and Agriculture Specialists has been incredible and their dedication to CBP’s enforcement mission is evident when you look at these seizures,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director-Louisville. “Criminals are persistent in their attempts to smuggle their products into the U.S.; however, through our hard work and vigilance we will continue to intercept these dangerous items at our port of entry before they can harm our communities.”

CBP’s border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.

From U.S. Customs and Border Protection

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