Crime

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Stories within News From Elsewhere tagged as Crime are most often related to massive quantities of drugs hidden within agricultural shipments. As an endless stream of agricultural products are routinely shipped across borders and around the world every day, hiding other commodities within these shipments is not uncommon. Sometimes the value of the drugs contained in the shipments can reach tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars.

142 Pound of Meth, Heroin Found in Carrot Load at Texas Border Crossing

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-26 Thu 13:40
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly $3 million in methamphetamine and heroin at a Texas crossing Tuesday. Officials report the 142 pounds of drugs were stashed in a shipment of carrots.

Plants that Hired Illegal Aliens Paid Unlawful Wages, Hired a Child

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-23 Mon 17:16
2219

Three food processing plants in Mississippi, raided by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency last year, were found to have also paid workers below the minimum wage and one plant hired a child.

Singapore firms fined for illegal food imports

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-10 Tue 12:23
2098

Four Singapore companies have been fined in the past month, being accused of illegally importing food products. All of the firms had penalties set in court. In October, CCL Impex Pte Ltd. was fined S$3,600 (US$2,700) for illegally importing fresh fruits, vegetables and processed food for sale. In…

A Way Too Efficient Pesticide

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-09 Mon 23:35
2090

Europol, the European police authority, estimates that up to 15% of pesticides are unapproved or counterfeit, resulting an annual impact of more than $6.5 billion on the legitimate pesticide industry. It is often unknown what ingredients are in these counterfeit products. Such substances, often sold online, can pose serious health and environmental risks. During the first half of 2020, Europol has seized a record amount of unapproved pesticides. Profit margins for criminals are very high due to relatively low production costs for pesticides. Criminals avoid the tedious, expensive and lengthy approval processes which are usually contributing significantly to the pesticides’ costs.

"Price differences can make falsification of geographical origin profitable"

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-05 Thu 10:07
2058

A few weeks ago there was a million-dollar fraud case in the Austrian fruit trade: 460 tons of apples of Czech origin were offered on the market as Austrian goods. Imprint LLC, based in Neutal in Burgenland, has been fighting this type of fraud for many years. Managing Director Bernd Bodiselitsch…

Philippines Customs destroys illegally imported vegetables and smuggled cigarettes

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-03 Tue 07:40
2026

Last Sunday, the Philippines Bureau of Customs destroyed about P215 million (€2.25 mln) worth of smuggled cigarettes that were seized. Three 40-footer containers of illegally imported vegetables, such as onions, were also destroyed at a rendering facility in Porac, Pampanga on Friday. According to…

2 huge fermenting tanks stolen from new B.C. brewery found before being turned into scrap

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-23 Fri 15:15
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Two stolen fermentation tanks — worth more than $40,000 — have turned up in local scrap yards. The massive tanks turned up at separate yards, and one is more damaged than the other.

CANAPEP demands all pineapple containers are scanned before they're exported

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-23 Fri 13:25
1907

The National Chamber of Pineapple Producers and Exporters (CANAPEP) has requested that the authorities of the Ministry of Finance and Public Security scan 100% of the containers loaded with fresh and industrial pineapple that the country exports, regardless of the destination port, to prevent these…

Food Fraud With Nasty Results

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-21 Wed 01:18
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Global food supply chains are complex and therefore quite vulnerable to errors or fraudulent activity. A company in Chile repackaged and falsely labeled cheap raspberries from China, reselling them as top-level organic Chilean raspberries in Canada. These raspberries were linked to a norovirus outbreak in Canada, sickening hundreds of people. A whistleblower complaint helped to uncover this fraudulent scheme that posed a significant risk to human health.

Listen To Your Elder(berries)

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-13 Tue 23:56
1800

As a tasty source of Vitamin C, B6, antioxidants, iron and more, elderberries have been a growing part of the latest health, immune boosting and wellness trends. Currently, the demand exceeds the supply for elderberries. For the past four to five years, this growth in popularity has been inviting adulteration of elderberry with other dark berries such as blueberries, as well as dyes, black rice and other materials. According to the Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program, such fraud can be detected by a variety of chromatographic methods.

800 Pound Meth Seizure Breaks Arizona Port Record

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-07 Wed 14:32
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Nogales Port of Entry in Arizona seized 800 pounds of methamphetamine and fentanyl being smuggling into the United States from Mexico. This sets a new record for the Nogales Port of Entry.

How a Chilean raspberry scam dodged food safety controls from China to Canada

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-07 Wed 08:43
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In January 2017, Chilean Customs inspectors acted on a tip from a whistleblower: The country’s prized crop of raspberries was under threat. Inspectors raided the offices of Frutti di Bosco, a little-known fruit trading company on the second floor of a tower block in downtown Santiago. The files, company…

To Bee Or Not To Bee

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-07 Wed 01:15
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Fake honey is an enormous economical burden on beekeepers and consumers around the world. Adulteration methods are becoming more and more sophisticated. Besides the old-fashioned scams of real honey getting diluted or replaced by syrup, new tricks show up, for example pollen getting blended into syrup, chemical alteration of syrup to confuse tests, fake honey traveling through a number of countries to mask its country of origin, or a combination of these methods. Since the adulterated honey does not pose a risk to consumer’s health, government enforcement to detect and punish honey adulteration has not been very strong. So far, authenticity tests are mostly left to the private sector and the honey industry.

Police seek tips after fish hooks, trip wires and nails left in Vancouver community garden

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-30 Wed 09:28
1599

Vancouver police say they've run out of leads in their investigation into who set traps in a community garden in Mount Pleasant last week. The traps included trip wires, a board with nails sticking up and fish hooks hung at eye level.

More than 100 records of fresh produce fraud

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-29 Tue 09:42
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Fraud with regard to fruit (and produce in general) is commonly related to labeling claims about production practices, production location or brand names. In some parts of the world, unapproved substances may be used to speed or enhance ripening or to make fruits look more visually appealing. Still,…

Irish Gardaí seize 50 kilos of cocaine hidden in fruit container

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-28 Mon 19:47
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In Ireland, Gardaí have seized 50 kilos worth of cocaine -with an estimated street value of €3.5 million- following a major surveillance operation. The truck driver, believed to be from the south-east of the country, was being questioned last weekend at a north Dublin garda station. The drugs haul was…

CBP officers at Pharr Cargo facility discover $960K in cocaine in commercial shipment

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-28 Mon 19:46
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility discovered $960,500 worth of alleged cocaine concealed within a commercial shipment of produce arriving from Mexico. “Our top priority is to keep our country and the people that live in…

Mixing produce and drugs produces a $4M bust

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-25 Fri 10:03
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility thwarted a smuggling attempt of alleged cocaine and methamphetamine worth $4 million in a commercial shipment of fresh produce arriving from Mexico. 

“Tenacity is the key in keeping dangerous drugs from crossing our borders,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. CBP officers are committed to upholding CBP’s ongoing border security mission, serving as the guardians of our country’s borders.”

On Sep. 22, 2020, a 28-year-old truck driver, a Mexican citizen arrived from Mexico at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility driving a tractor/trailer that contained a commercial shipment of produce. A CBP officer referred the conveyance for a secondary examination and after utilizing all available tools and resources, including a canine team, officers discovered packages of suspected narcotics hidden within the trailer floor. CBP OFO removed and seized 200 packages weighing 250 pounds of alleged cocaine and 61 packages weighing 105.82 pounds of alleged methamphetamine.

CBP OFO seized all the narcotics and the tractor/trailer and arrested the driver. Agents with Homeland Security Investigations took custody of the men while they continue with the investigations.

Ton of cocaine found hidden in fruit shipment at Port of Dover

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-24 Thu 08:14
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Two men have been arrested after around a ton of cocaine concealed within a load of fruit was seized Dover. The discovery was made in the early hours of yesterday morning by specialist Border Force search teams. The cocaine, with a street value of approximately £100m has been found hidden in a shipment…

Report: Illegal Boat Migrants Sign Slave Labour 'Pact' with Traffickers to Reach UK

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-21 Mon 11:50
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Migrant workers pick Chardonnay grapes during the harvest at Hambledon Vineyard on October 3, 2018 in Hambledon, United Kingdom. Around 80 predominantly Eastern European workers have been brought in at Hambledon to pick a bumper crop of 250 tonnes of grapes this season, following a long and warm summer. As Brexit looms there is uncertainty for the British wine industry with much of the manufacturing equipment and labour currently imported from other European countries. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

$2 million of drugs found in produce shipment

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-21 Mon 10:20
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U.S. Customs & Border Protection Office of Field Operations at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility intercepted $2.36 million worth of alleged methamphetamine and heroin in a commercial shipment of fresh produce arriving from Mexico.

“This interception of dangerous drugs truly exemplifies the teamwork of our officers working at our cargo facility,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “CBP continues to analyze smuggling methods and utilize intelligence, experience and technology to keep our border communities safe and secure.”

On Sep. 16, 2020, at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility, a CBP officer referred a tractor/trailer hauling a commercial shipment of fresh produce for further inspection. The secondary examination included the assistance of a (canine team) and subsequently officers discovered suspected narcotics hidden within the shipment. Officers removed 162 packages of alleged methamphetamine weighing 85.63 pounds and 30 packages of alleged heroin weighing 16.22 pounds. These drugs are valued at $1.7 million and $649,000, respectively.

Avocadon't smuggle $6.6 million of drugs in produce

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-15 Tue 08:21
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U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Office of Field Operations at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility intercepted a load of hard narcotics consisting of alleged methamphetamine and heroin that was concealed within a commercial shipment of produce arriving from Mexico. The estimated street value of the seizure is $6.67 million.

“Significant narcotics interdiction enforcement actions like these have direct and immediate impact on the smuggling organizations who operate in our area,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, port of Hidalgo/Pharr/ Anzalduas. “CBP Field Operations maintains a robust enforcement posture while continuing to facilitate and process legitimate trade and travel, which is a delicate balance.”

On Sep. 12, 2020, a tractor/trailer hauling a commercial shipment of avocados arrived at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility and a CBP officer referred the conveyance for further inspection, which included the utilization of non-intrusive imaging equipment. The thorough secondary examination resulted in officers discovering suspected narcotics hidden within the trailer. Officers removed 48 packages of alleged methamphetamine weighing 326 pounds and one package of alleged heroin weighing 2.41 pounds.

UK: Millions of pounds of cocaine found in vegetable shipments

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-26 Wed 11:03
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More than £4 million worth of cocaine was found on freight flights from Kingston, Jamaica. According to the Home Office, all drugs were confiscated by Border Force officials in a series of seizures in August. “Some 22kg of cocaine was seized on 11 August, estimated to be worth £1.8 million. A further…

More than 2 tons of cocaine found in fruit shipments

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-18 Tue 10:04
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This weekend, customs officers at the port of Rotterdam discovered a total of 2,100 kilograms of cocaine hidden in two fruit shipments from Ecuador and Costa Rica. The drugs had a total street value of over 157 million euros, the Public Prosecution Service said. The first batch of 1,100 kilograms of…

Seven tons of marijuana crosses the lime

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-12 Wed 10:16
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U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers intercepted almost 15,000 pounds of marijuana in what was supposed to be a shipment of limes. The narcotics have an estimated street value of almost $60 million.

At the Otay Mesa cargo crossing, CBP officers sent a tractor-trailer to the dock for further inspection after discovering anomalies during a scan by X-ray imaging system.  CBP officers opened the boxes and found large, tape-wrapped packages inside the many boxes manifested as limes. Officers found 622 large, tape-wrapped packages inside the boxes, containing 14,880 pounds of marijuana.  The narcotics have an estimated street value of almost $60 million.

CBP officers also intercepted 668 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in a cactus shipment. CBP officers searched inside the crates of cactus pads (which are often used in nopales, or prickly pear, dishes and drinks) and found packages, wrapped with green tape, hidden inside among the pads.

“International drug trafficking organizations will use whatever means they can think of to try and move their illicit shipments into the U.S.,” said Pete Flores, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego. “CBP officers dedicate their careers to protecting our country by securing the border.  For them, these unusual seizures are all in a day’s work.”

In total, officers found 590 packages. The narcotics have an estimated street value of over $1.5 million.

 

Colombia: Cocaine seized in banana shipment bound for Antwerp

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-12 Wed 09:37
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Anti-drug officials in Santa Maria, Colombia, have seized 1,100 kilograms of cocaine bound for Antwerp on Sunday. According to UN Container Control Program coordinator Bob Van den Berghe, the drugs were packed in cases of bananas. In 2020, port control units with the support of the UN program have…

Bad apples say $19M meth shipment is produce

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-12 Wed 09:35
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U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Office of Field Operations officers at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility hit it out of the park again with the seizure of another huge load of alleged methamphetamine worth $19.8 million discovered in a commercial produce shipment arriving from Mexico.

“This is another significant strike our officers have made on the methamphetamine smuggling industry,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “Large seizures like this one underscore the severity of the drug threat and show that our officers remain fiercely dedicated to upholding our border security mission.”

On Aug. 7, a 29-year-old man, a Mexican citizen from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico arrived at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility driving a tractor-trailer containing a commercial shipment of produce. A secondary inspection of the conveyance resulted in CBP officers discovering 521 packages of alleged methamphetamine weighing 992 pounds concealed within the floor of the trailer.

CBP OFO seized the narcotics, the tractor-trailer and arrested the driver. Agents with Homeland Security Investigations continue with the investigation.

Lisbon: 375 kilograms of cocaine hidden in banana container seized

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-11 Tue 09:37
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Portugal’s National Unit to Combat Narcotics Trafficking has stated that “in recent days, it has launched an operation to combat international drug trafficking, aiming at the seizure of a high quantity of cocaine”. It was within the scope of this operation, which had the support of the Tax and Customs…

$16 million broccoli shipment is mostly meth

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-06 Thu 11:56
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U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Office of Field Operations at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility discovered $16.1 million worth of alleged methamphetamine within a commercial trailer hauling a shipment of fresh broccoli.

“This is a substantial amount of hard narcotics that our officers have detected and seized from drug trafficking organizations attempting to smuggle these drugs across our border,” said Carlos Rodriguez, port director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “By preventing this drug load from reaching the U.S., CBP advances its border security mission, protecting our citizens and communities.”

On Aug. 3, 2020, a 51-year-old male Mexican citizen arrived at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility driving a tractor/trailer that contained a commercial shipment of fresh produce. A CBP officer referred the shipment for further inspection, which included a non-intrusive imaging system inspection that allowed the officers to discover packages of suspected narcotics concealed within the trailer. The inspection continued into the following day when ultimately officers removed 1,561 packages of alleged methamphetamine that weighed 804.69 pounds.