Sticky situation averted when 187 kilograms of cannabis were found in dehumidifiers

$1.5m worth of weed found in material seized in US while traveling from Canada to UK

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US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), aided by the trusty nose of narcotics detection dog Bruno, discovered 187 kilograms of cannabis stuck in a shipment of humidors en route from Canada to the UK.

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On Sept. 17 in Cincinnati, Bruno was peeking when he alerted that something was up with cargo manifesting as humidors arriving at the Port of Cincinnati, CBP reports in a statement.

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Further examination of the first shipment of dehumidifiers revealed vacuum sealed bags of cannabis. After testing and confirming that the substance was cannabis, officers “inspected all 12 dehumidifiers and discovered that each had hidden bags containing marijuana.” The weight of the illicit weed was 187 kg.

  1. During the search of the residence on December 20, officers found nearly 77.1 kilograms of marijuana, with an estimated value of $174,795, hidden in a shower in the restroom.  /

    US border guards find cannabis in the box

  2. The CBSA defines

    Canadian border agents seize more cannabis products

  3. Officers found 2,302 vacuum-sealed packages of marijuana.  / PHOTO BY U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION

    $6.2 million worth of cannabis confiscated at the Port of Buffalo

Led to a UK-based company, the cannabis inside dehumidifiers has an estimated street value of nearly $1.5 million.

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“Our canine teams are an invaluable asset to CBP’s enforcement strategy,” LaFonda Sutton-Burke, director of field operations for the agency’s Chicago field office, said in the statement.

“These bans are a testament to the hard work, dedication and training these teams employ daily to protect America,” Sutton-Burke adds.

Since ports in the United States are federally regulated – whether owned by state, local or private entities – “federal laws and regulations control the operation of these ports, the activities of their service vessels and their competitive nature. Recreational cannabis is federally illegal in the United States, classified as a drug with “no currently accepted medical use and high potential for abuse”.

Under federal law, selling 100 to 999 kg of cannabis is a felony punishable by five to 40 years in prison and a fine of half a million dollars, notes a report from the National Organization for the marijuana law reform.

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Beyond that, cannabis use by adults is illegal in Ohio (although possession of small amounts has been decriminalised), illegal in the UK (offering or producing is punishable maximum prison term of 14 years) and illegal to ship from Canada to another country (unlawful distribution or sale under the Cannabis law is punishable by up to 14 years in prison).

When it comes to travel, the federal government of Canada makes it clear that it is illegal to transport cannabis and herbal products across the Canadian border. “You could be charged with a criminal offense if you attempt to travel to other countries with any amount of cannabis in your possession,” he adds.

“CBP enforces the laws of the United States and US laws have not changed even though marijuana is legal in Canada,” the agency’s statement noted.

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Image of cannabis packaged inside dehumidifiers seized in Cincinnati.  /
Image of cannabis packaged inside dehumidifiers seized in Cincinnati. / Photo by US Customs and Border Protection

Richard Gillespie, director of the Port of Cincinnati, points out that transnational criminals will do whatever it takes to smuggle illegal narcotics across borders.

“Our officers have been trained to identify and stop shipments that pose a threat to our country and our international counterparts. We are committed to CBP’s mission and continue to assist our law enforcement allies around the world,” continued Gillespie.

Mislabeled containers are commonplace when it comes to medications and related paraphernalia. The many examples include bongs that manifest as gravity pipes from China on the way in California, 2,302 vacuum-sealed packets of weed among a shipment of bathroom vanities, cannabis, cocaine, heroin and ketamine in a furniture shipment and 557 kg of weed in a shipment believed to be paper towels and dishwasher detergent.

The latest figures from CBP show that in the United States, drug seizures of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana by weight increased 1.4% in August 2022 compared to July.

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