WASHINGTON, D.C. – The seizure near Curlew of 310 pounds of the “designer” drug Ecstasy, with an estimated street value of $9,373,329, made U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s top ten list of seizures on the U.S. border in 2010.
U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Curlew Border patrol station made the seizure in October after local citizens tipped off agents who were working in a remote area near Curlew, about 40 miles east of Oroville, to the location of several backpacks concealed in the brush along a trail near the U.S./Canada Border. Agents immediately responded to the location and made the initial discovery of two backpacks that had been carefully concealed in a remote wooded area. Upon opening the backpacks, agents discovered several plastic bags containing pills. The pills were identified as the drug known as Ecstasy.
“This significant seizure is a direct result of the valued partnership that we share with our local residents and the importance of them reporting any suspicious activity to law enforcement,” said Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez of the Spokane Border Patrol.
Within minutes of the initial seizure, a Border Patrol canine team that was also on scene discovered two additional backpacks containing a significant amount of Ecstasy pills as well. The combined seizures made this a record-breaking amount of Ecstasy seized between the official ports of entry on Washington’s northern border.
Last week U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced some of its top seizures of 2010 and the Curlew seizure was listed as number four on a list of ten. According to the announcement, at the top of the list was a multi-agency task force action that uncovered a border tunnel on the nation’s southern border, leading to the seizure of 30 tons of marijuana. Number two was the charging of 14 persons with conspiracy to smuggle $3.1 million in cash into Mexico. Number three was the seizure of $12.7 million in heroin by Loredo, Texas CBP officers. The only other seizure on the top ten list on the nation’s northern border, number nine, also occurred in Washington State where Tacoma Seaport CBP Officers seized a shipment of 30 machineguns.
“With officers and agents protecting our nation’s borders, processing almost a million travelers a day, interceptions of cross-border tunnel smuggling operations and record narcotic seizures in Laredo and Washington State account for just a fraction of enforcement actions CBP performs each year,” writes the CBP in their announcement of the top seizures. “CBP officers and agents make thousands of seizures each year; these are some examples that personify the vigilance and service of our diverse agency and mission.”