Border Patrol Agents Use High-Tech Equipment to Intercept $8 Million Worth of Cocaine

Border patrol agents made one of the largest busts in recent years at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport on August 22, 2015. They intercepted and seized cocaine with a street value of more than $8 million. As the country’s largest seaport, the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport is a prime location for smugglers to try and bring contraband into the US.

The agents assigned to the Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team discovered the 424 pounds of cocaine by using technology that lets them scan containers and vehicles for anomalies such as unusual density or shapes. In this case, the agents found an inconsistency in a container of tires from South America and opened the container which contained three large bundles. These bundles held 170 individual brick-sized packages that tested positive for cocaine.

The US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) seeks to screen incoming traffic for contraband while expediting the flow of travelers and cargo into the country. Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology (NII) enables them to carry out their priority of interdicting narcotics being brought into the country.

Acting like an x-ray, the NII equipment identifies anomalies that can be due to narcotics being smuggled into the US. The CBP deploys this equipment in and between ports of entry across the US. With 309 large-scale NII systems, border patrol agents can rapidly screen vehicles and cargo for narcotics.

In fiscal year 2012, border patrol agents used large-scale NII systems to conduct more than 7.6 million examinations. This resulted in more than 1,500 seizures leading to the interception of more than 212,000 pounds of illegal drugs.

In addition, this type of technology enables border patrol agents to screen for nuclear and radiological material and thus helps prevent terrorists from smuggling nuclear bombs into the US.