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Sticky situation averted when 187 kilograms of cannabis found in dehumidifiers

Sep 21, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

$1.5 million in weed discovered in equipment seized in U.S. while making its way from Canada to the U.K.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), aided ably by the trusty nose of narcotic detector dog Bruno, discovered 187 kilograms of cannabis jammed into a shipment of humidifiers that were on its way from Canada to the U.K.

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On Sept. 17 in Cincinnati, Bruno was having a look-see when he alerted to something being up with a shipment manifested as humidifiers that had arrived at the port of Cincinnati, CBP reports in a statement.

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A closer look at the first shipment of dehumidifiers revealed vacuum-sealed bags of cannabis. After testing and confirming the substance was cannabis, officers “inspected all 12 dehumidifiers and discovered that each one had concealed bags containing marijuana.” The weight of illicit weed was 187 kg.

  1. While searching the residence on Dec. 20, the officers found almost 77.1 kilograms of marijuana, estimated to be worth $174,795, hidden inside a restroom shower. /

    U.S. border guards find cannabis in the can

  2. The CBSA defines “cannabis products” as consisting of dried and fresh cannabis, cannabis seeds, solids, non-solids, concentrates and synthetic cannabis. /

    Canadian border officials seizing more cannabis products

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

    $6.2 million in cannabis confiscated at Port of Buffalo

Headed to a U.K.-based company, the cannabis inside the dehumidifiers has an estimated street value of almost $1.5 million.

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

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

Since ports in the U.S. 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 serving vessels and their competitive nature.” Recreational cannabis is federally illegal in the U.S., classified as a drug with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

In line with federal law, sale of 100 to 999 kg of cannabis is a felony punishable by five to 40 years in prison and a half-million-dollar fine, notes information from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

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Beyond that, adult-use cannabis is illegal in Ohio (although possession of small amounts has been decriminalized), illegal in the U.K. (with supply or production carrying a maximum prison term of 14 years) and illegal to ship from Canada to another country (illegal distribution or sale under the Cannabis Act is punishable by up to 14 years in prison).

With regards to travel, Canada’s federal government makes clear it is illegal to transport cannabis and products containing weed across the Canadian border.  “You could be charged with a criminal offence if you try to travel to other countries with any amount of cannabis in your possession,” it adds.

“CBP enforces the laws of the United States and U.S. laws have not changed even though marijuana is legal in Canada,” notes the agency statement.

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

Richard Gillespie, Cincinnati’s port director, points out that transnational criminals will take any measures within their reach to get illegal narcotics across borders.

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

Inaccurately labeled containers are a common occurrence when it comes to drugs and related paraphernalia. The many examples include bongs manifested as gravity pipes coming from China en route to California, 2,302 packages of vacuum-sealed weed among a shipment of bathroom vanities, cannabis, cocaine, heroin and ketamine in a furniture consignment and 557 kg of weed in a shipment said to be paper towels and dishwasher detergent.

The latest figures from the CBP show that, across the U.S., drug seizures of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana by weight were up 1.4 per cent in August 2022 compared to July.

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