MIAMI - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized here Saturday more than 6,000 pounds of marijuana with a street value of approximately $12 million.
The seizure took place on Saturday, Sept. 13, after ICE agents and CBP officers were conducting Homeland Security inspections at the Port of Miami and were working a long row of 20 foot containers that had been shipped through Jamaica prior to arriving at Miami. As the officers and agents approached the containers, CBP K-9 Kiara, an energetic two-year-old black Malinois, gave a strong reaction to one particular container that was not yet opened. Kiara, a recent graduate of the CBP Canine Academy in Virginia, pulled her partner, a CBP Canine Enforcement Officer, directly to the suspect container. This was Kiara's first big seizure and she was very excited to demonstrate her keen sense of smell.
The inspection of the container by ICE and CBP officers revealed the discovery of burlap sacks containing various sized packages of marijuana.
"This seizure demonstrates the level of partnership between ICE and CBP in our efforts to identify drug smugglers, how they operate and the routes they use to prevent illegal drugs from being distributed throughout our communities," said Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Miami. "Drug traffickers who think they can use our maritime borders to import illegal drugs into the United States should know that ICE and our law enforcement partners are committed to stopping the movement of contraband and illegal immigrants."
"Once again, CBP and ICE have stopped the importation of a huge amount of narcotics from entering the U.S.," stated Harold E. Woodward, CBP's Director of Field Operations for the Miami Field Office. "Our CBP Officers and Canine Enforcement Officers are out here every day, working together with ICE agents to keep the threats at bay. Of course, we are also very pleased with the performance of one of our rookies, Kiara. She still has a puppy personality, and for her this seizure was great fun."
Although this seizure did not produce the arrest of those responsible for smuggling the marijuana into the United States, the ICE investigation continues.
During fiscal year 2008, ICE agents and CBP officers in Miami seized approximately 2,923 pounds of marijuana at the Port of Miami. This most recent 6,000 pound seizure will bring the total to nearly 9,000 pounds of marijuana seized at the Port of Miami this fiscal year.