EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — What should have been a shipment of baby wipes turned out to be a load of cocaine, the largest uncovered at a Laredo port of entry in two decades, border officials said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the cocaine arrived in a trailer last Friday, Aug. 26, at the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge in Laredo, Texas, where a drug-sniffing dog alerted officers to 1,935 packages containing 1,533 pounds of the drug.
With an estimated street value of $11.8 million, Randy Howe, director of CBP’s Laredo Office of Field Operations, called it a “colossal, record setting seizure. Largest Cocaine bust in 20 years!”
On Thursday morning, less than a week later, Howe tweeted that border officers had seized nearly $8 million worth of cocaine — about 1,000 pounds — in two separate busts at the Laredo World Trade Port of Entry.
That afternoon, Howe tweeted about another significant seizure: 545 pounds of cocaine. Estimated street value: $4.5 million.
The cocaine seized on Thursday came in three shipments of furniture, steel rolls and plastic ethylene sheets.
“Officers assigned to CBP cargo facilities ensure effective border security by preventing and countering the flow of suspected narcotics entering the country,” said Port Director Alberto Flores, Laredo Port of Entry.
CBP seized the cocaine disguised as baby wipes. Special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations are investigating the seizure.
Though the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, 2021, border officers in the Laredo Sector had seized 6,500 pounds of cocaine at ports of entry. Officers confiscated about 8,600 pounds of cocaine during the previous fiscal year.