News roundup, Feb. 25: More than $18M seized from load of broccoli at border; 61 drivers laid off by Illinois-based carrier

Updated Feb 26, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020:

Border Patrol agents found more than $18 million worth of drugs in a load of broccoli. (CBP photo)Border Patrol agents found more than $18 million worth of drugs in a load of broccoli. (CBP photo)

More than $18M in meth found in load of broccoli
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found more than $18 million worth of hard narcotics, most of which was allegedly methamphetamine, in a tractor-trailer load of broccoli.

The agents at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge in southeast Texas, on Feb. 16, referred a tractor-trailer hauling a load of fresh broccoli for further examination. The inspection allowed officers to find 432 packages of suspected narcotics hidden in the trailer.

Officers removed and seized 341 packages of alleged meth weighing 895 pounds valued at $18 million, 87 packages of alleged marijuana weighing 202 pounds valued at $40,000, three packages of alleged heroin weighing 8.82 pounds worth $353,000, and one package of alleged cocaine weighing 3.31 pounds valued at $25,500.

Illinois-based carrier laying off 61 truckers in Wisconsin
A large Illinois carrier is laying off 61 truck drivers in Wisconsin due to lost business in the area, according to a notice filed Feb. 21 with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Black Horse Carriers is closing its terminal located in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, which was “prompted by [a] customer’s decision given on Friday, Feb. 21, to discontinue business” with the fleet at that location, the notice states. The closure will lay off 68 total employees, 61 of which are truck drivers. The notice says the company expected the closure to happen Monday, Feb. 24.

The notice adds that the company “will ensure that employees will be paid all earned wages and agree upon benefits at the time of their termination.”

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration numbers, the Carol Stream, Illinois-based fleet runs nearly 2,500 trucks with more than 3,000 drivers.

Warren BrownleeWarren Brownlee

ABF Freight driver recognized for helping prevent accident
A truck driver for ABF Freight System has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association after he stopped to help young drivers who lost control of their car on a busy highway.

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Warren Brownlee was heading out of Dallas toward Little Rock, Arkansas, on a dark and rainy evening in November when he came around a curve and saw a pickup truck disabled and sitting sideways in the far-left lane. The truck’s rear end was against the median, and the passenger side was facing oncoming traffic with its nose extending into the middle lane.

“It was a black truck on a black night on black pavement,” Brownlee said. “I realized someone was going to hit them.”

Brownlee then positioned his tractor and twin trailers he was pulling into a modified serpentine configuration to protect the pickup truck and its two occupants who were standing outside the truck, then he called 911.

The driver of the pickup was a young male who was with his girlfriend, and both looked to be 16- or 17-years-old, according to Brownlee. The driver told Brownlee he lost control on the slick pavement.

The driver’s father then arrived at the scene and thanked Brownlee for stopping to help.

For his willingness to help, TCA presented Brownlee with a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decals. ABF Freight also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel. EpicVue sponsors the Highway Angel program.