U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at a Los Angeles International Airport air cargo facility seized 18.4 pounds of opium concealed inside a furniture shipment, authorities said.
CBP officers examined a shipment arriving from Thailand manifested as a rocking chair Oct. 29, but the freight actually consisted of 22 small rattan stools, all of which revealed anomalies when X-rayed, customs officials said. After further intensive examination, the officers found a dark substance which tested positive for opium, CBP officials said.
One chair had eight packages of opium that weighed 14.7 pounds in total, and in the upper rims of all the remaining stools, opium was extracted with a combined total weight of 18.4 pounds and valued at $108,680, according to CBP.
“CBP officers are the frontline at our nation’s ports of entry. This seizure is the result of dedicated officers using their skills with advanced technology to stop the smuggling of narcotics and other contraband from entering the United States,” said Carlos Martel, CBP acting director of the Los Angeles field office.
Officials noted that on a typical day in fiscal year 2009, CBP seized 6,642 pounds of drugs nationwide.