“MX” for Borderland Beat
|Ketchup packages containing marijuana|
Mexican drug cartels are often trying to get creative when smuggling drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border. But the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency outsmarted them this time at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge on Tuesday.
CBP sniffing dogs discovered 7,645 lbs (3,467 kg) of marijuana – nearly four tons – were concealed in large commercial shipment of ketchup arriving from Mexico. The pot was hidden inside 968 packages. Authorities said the marijuana had a street value of more than US$1.5 million.
“While drug smuggling organizations try to be creative in finding ways to conceal their illicit merchandise, CBP officers continue to effectively apply inspection skills and technology to prevent narcotics from crossing our borders,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas.
Ketchup is now on the list of the most bizarre methods drug cartels have used to hide drugs they cross through the border. Among others we have seen in the past include breast implants, frozen sharks, stuffed animals, fake carrots and real jalapeños.
According to the CBP’s website, condiments like ketchup are generally admissible without having to declare it at the border just as long as it does not contain meat products.
Investigators confirmed that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is continuing the rest of the investigation.