A massive bust at the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, was announced last Friday, and law enforcement agents presented the seizure with stacked bales of cannabis in a wall-like structure that was posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
In a single swoop, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers assigned to the World Trade Bridge seized over two tons of cannabis. Border agents searched a suspected freight truck and found it was loaded 4,466 pounds of pot, with a street value of nearly 10 million dollars.
The bust took place last Thursday, on Sept. 14 at the World Trade Bridge in Laredo. A CBP officer flagged a 2023 freightliner tractor trailer that claimed to ship home goods for secondary inspection. And after a thorough examination using the border patrol’s non-intrusive inspection system, CBP officers discovered 177 packages containing a total of 4,466 pounds of alleged cannabis within the trailer. Law enforcement agents say it has a street value of $9,904,204, outlined in a Sept. 15 news release.
“Our CBP officers continue to maintain strict vigilance in our cargo environment and this week they came up big, with a seizure of more than two tons of marijuana,” said Port Director Albert Flores, Laredo Port of Entry. “We have not seen as much marijuana lately compared to the harder narcotics but it underscores the ever changing nature of the drug threat our officers face on a daily basis.”
CBP agents are primarily concerned with cannabis and drugs that are headed into the country, instead of headed the other way.
A photo shows the packages containing 4,466 pounds of cannabis seized by CBP officers at World Trade Bridge. CBP agents seized the cannabis, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents are currently investigating the seizure.
CPB is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the comprehensive management, control, and protection of our nation’s borders, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection at and between official ports of entry. CBP is one of the world’s largest law enforcement organizations with the primary goal of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S., but also enforcing lawful international travel and trade.
Cannabis seizures along the U.S.-Mexico border, which stretches nearly 2,000 miles, have actually fallen dramatically in recent years, aligning neatly with adult-use cannabis laws in the West: Seizure fell from about 1,350 metric tons in 2013 to around 70 metric tons in 2022, according to CBP statistics.
Cannabis Crossing the Border From Both Ends
The U.S.-Mexico border is not the only borderline you need to worry about in 2023.
In 2019, border patrol seized $100,000 worth of cannabis in upstate New York near Canada.
Border Patrol agents and police officers seized approximately 50 pounds of cannabis in upstate New York in 2019 in a traffic stop near the U.S-Canadian border. Officials estimated the value of the pot at more than $100,000, according to a press release from CPB.
Agents assigned to the Massena Border Patrol Station were on duty when they pulled over a red pickup truck in the parking lot of a hotel in Hogansburg, New York. After requesting assistance from other nearby law enforcement agencies, the Border Patrol agents were joined by officers from the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police (SRMTP) and the New York State Police (NYSP).
After a canine unit with the SRMTP smelled something in the vehicle, the officers discovered the cannabis hidden in luggage which was stowed in the extended cab of the pickup truck.
Up north, some people are doing it by accident: The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) released a press release on June 26 as a reminder for people traveling for the holidays that no cannabis is allowed across the border.
For those who plan to traverse the border between the U.S. and Canada, CBSA recommends tips such as planning ahead for border wait times, saving time with an Advance Declaration, and having travel documents handy. The topic of cannabis was also shared in this list as well.
The section entitled “Cannabis: Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out.” refers to the restrictions of cannabis being brought across the border. “Bringing cannabis across the border in any form, including oils containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), without a permit or exemption authorized by Health Canada is a serious criminal offence subject to arrest and prosecution, despite the legalization of cannabis in Canada. A medical prescription from a doctor does not count as Health Canada authorization.”
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Author: Benjamin M. Adams