US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) agents at the Port of Buffalo seized 2,554 pounds (1,158kg) of cannabis on October 20, disguised as a shipment of bathroom vanities.
Border agents detected abnormalities in the shipment before sending it for secondary inspection where they located 2,302 packages of cannabis they say is valued at over $5 million (US). This comes out to about $4.30/gram.
The seized shipment is only the most recent of many large seizures over the past 18+ months following the closure of the US/Canadian border in March 2020 due to the pandemic.
CPB has seized 79,629 pounds of cannabis entering the US from Canada so far in 2021 and another 56,832 pounds in 2020. These are significant increases compared to just 9,662 pounds in 2019 and 13,245 in 2018.
Canada re-opened their border to fully vaccinated Americans this past August, while the US has said they plan to do the same for Canadians entering the US via the land border beginning November 8. Canadians have been able to fly into the US with no major restrictions.
“Criminal organizations continue to attempt to exploit the border for their personal gain, however the skills, training and dedication of our officers have once again halted their plan,” said Acting Buffalo Port Director John Madsen in a press release following the most recently-announced seizure. “I am proud of the persistent efforts of our resilient workforce in securing the border ensuring these narcotics were prevented from entering our country.”
“HSI is committed with CBP to disrupt the flow of illegal drugs smuggled into the United States,” said Matthew Scarpino, acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI Buffalo. “Through the HSI Border Enforcement Security Task Force, HSI will continue to investigate these significant seizures, with our Canadian law enforcement partners, to combat the transnational criminal networks that threaten our international region.”
Last May, US Customs officers seized 3,765 pounds (1,707.8 kg) of cannabis at the Portal Port of Entry between North Dakota and Saskatchewan.
In April, 2,796 pounds of cannabis (1,268 kg) hidden inside a shipment of straw at the Pembina crossing between Manitoba and North Dakota were seized. In late March of this year, 61 kg of THC extract was seized at the US border crossing south of Winnipeg, and 1,300 pounds of cannabis was seized at a border crossing between Quebec and Vermont.
Another several hundred kilograms were seized on March 26 at a border crossing between New York and Ontario. On March 10, officers at the same crossing seized 300kg of cannabis hidden in a commercial shipment of plastic bottles.