For the second time in a little more than a week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) have discovered opium hidden inside luggage.
A 28-year-old U.S. citizen arriving from Amsterdam was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after CBP officers allegedly seized 8.82 pounds of opium with an estimated wholesale value of $52,000 from inside the passenger’s baggage Jan. 21.
CBP officers working at Terminal 2 had referred the passenger for further inspection and during a search, two of the passenger’s suitcases felt unusually heavy once empty, according to a customs spokesperson. An x-ray of the suitcases revealed anomalies, and after further examination, CBP officers found five packages concealed in between the linings.
The packages, which were tightly wrapped in carbon paper and cellophane, contained a substance that allegedly tested positive for opium, according to CBP.
“Our CBP-LAX officers’ vigilance and expertise in narcotics interdiction at the frontline is commendable. Their keen skills and observations uncover creative concealments and new trends on a regular basis,” said Carlos Martel, CBP acting director of the Los Angeles field office.
The drug seizure and arrest came eight days after an Iranian national, a legal U.S. permanent resident arriving from London, was apprehended and arrested at LAX for allegedly attempting to smuggle over 4.6 pounds of opium concealed in a hand carry bag, the CBP spokesperson noted.