U.S. Customs and Border Protection were surprised to discover liquid cocaine packaged inside 24 bottles of shampoo inside a man’s suitcase at the Houston airport.
The bottles totaled 35 pounds and contained $400,000 worth of liquid cocaine, Fox 10 Phoenix reported. Officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport discovered the drugs, thanks to a K9 unit, and questioned the man who was carrying them, a 26-year-old Columbian citizen, after he picked up the checked luggage. From Fox 10:
CBP says officers questioned the passenger, and that interaction led them to conduct a baggage search where they discovered the two dozen shampoo bottles concealing the liquid cocaine valued at $400,000.
Authorities say a K9 alerted to the bottles in a manner to indicate the presence of narcotics, and a test conducted by officers indicated the substance was cocaine.
“Our officers are the first line of defense at our ports of entry, so they are trained in the various smuggling methods people use to bring illicit goods into the U.S.,” said CBP Port Director Shawn Polley. “We take every opportunity to intercept those illicit goods before they enter our communities, in this case it was 35 pounds of liquid cocaine.”
The drugs were seized and the man was sent back to Columbia, the outlet reported.
This was just the latest large drug bust this year.
In mid-June, federal law enforcement officials in Philadelphia seized 16.5 tons of cocaine — the largest bust in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
“A U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations-led multi-agency inspection of shipping containers aboard the MSC Gayane resulted in a substantial cocaine seizure in Philadelphia on June 17, 2019,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. “Authorities continue to process the seized cocaine and continue its inspection aboard the vessel in the Port of Philadelphia. Authorities have made two arrests, and will release a final tally and additional details when this operation concludes.”
U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain added: “This is one of the largest drug seizures in United States history. This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of people. My Office is committed to keeping our borders secure and streets safe from deadly narcotics.”
In September, police in Virginia arrested more than 30 people who were suspected of possessing “enough fentanyl to kill 14 million people,” according to CBS News. The Daily Wire reported that it was the largest drug bust in the state in the past 15 years, and authorities seized more than 30 kilograms each of fentanyl and heroine, along with five kilograms of cocaine and more than $700,000.
“This opioid crisis is not an issue that is happening someplace else, or to someone else. It’s happening right here in Norfolk,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, G. Zachary Terwilliger, said during a press conference at the time of the arrests.
“We’re not talking about $500 and $600 deals, we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he added. “You know, $20,000 in the trunk of somebody’s car in a gym bag, you know, behind a local restaurant.”
And in late October, police in North Carolina arrested four people in connection with a drug trafficking scheme. In that bust, authorities seized 6,800 pounds of marijuana, 39 pounds of cocaine, and $200,000. One of the four who was arrested was charged with trafficking heroin.