$10M in drugs hidden in load at border: Latest bust

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024:

$10M in drugs seized from truck at border

CBP drug bustThese bundles -- containing $10.2 million in powder and crystal methamphetamine as well as cocaine -- were hidden in a tractor-trailer and seized by CBP officers at the World Trade Bridge in Laredo, Texas.CBP

A truck carrying more than $10 million worth of illegal narcotics was recently busted at the World Trade Bridge at the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers assigned to the World Trade Bridge seized hard drugs that totaled more than $10,200,000 in street value, CBP said.

“CBP is proud of the work our frontline officers do to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities,” said Port Director Alberto Flores, Laredo Port of Entry. “This significant seizure is an example of ongoing operational efforts conducted daily to protect our borders.”

[Related: 'Trusted trader' program truck driver busted with $235K in cocaine at border]

The seizure occurred on Thursday, Dec. 21, when a CBP officer referred a 2001 Freightliner tractor (pulling a Utility reefer trailer manifesting a commercial shipment of cut flowers) for secondary inspection.

Following a canine and non-intrusive inspection system examination, CBP officers discovered a total of 164.72 pounds of alleged methamphetamine in powder form, 854.07 pounds of alleged methamphetamine in crystal form, and 165.34 pounds of alleged cocaine within the commodity.

The narcotics combined had a street value of $10,298,520.

CBP seized the narcotics, and Homeland Security Investigations special agents are investigating the seizure. 

[Related: $10M in meth/cocaine hidden in trailer full of jalapeno paste seized at border

Diesel prices fall to close out 2023

Fuel prices were up and down throughout 2023, with prices bottoming out at $3.77 during the week ending July 3, peaking at $4.63 during the week ending Sept. 18.

To close out the year, prices fell to near that July low, according to the Energy Information Administration’s latest weekly report.

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During the final week of 2023, the U.S. average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel was $3.88.

During the last week, prices fell in all regions across the country. The Midwest region saw the largest decrease of 4.8 cents, followed by the Gulf Coast and West Coast less California regions, where prices fell by 4.3 cents each.

California remains the only part of the country with prices over $5 a gallon, at an average of $5.18. The Gulf Coast region holds the nation’s cheapest diesel at $3.57 per gallon.

Prices in other regions, according to EIA:

  • New England -- $4.33
  • Central Atlantic -- $4.30
  • Lower Atlantic -- $3.86
  • Midwest -- $3.75
  • Rocky Mountain -- $3.89
  • West Coast less California -- $4.13

ProMiles’ diesel averages during the most recent week showed prices mostly hold flat, falling by just six-tenths of a cent to $3.92 a gallon.

According to the ProMiles Fuel Surcharge Index, the most expensive diesel can be found in California at $5.30 per gallon, and the cheapest can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $3.58 per gallon.

[Related: Spot rates' pre-Christmas bump anemic heading into this new year | I-87 closure upcoming]

ATRI seeks input on challenges faced by women truckers

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) pn Wednesday launched a new survey to identify what both women and men truck drivers believe to be the barriers to entry for women truck drivers. 

The research will also capture other challenges that truck drivers encounter while training, on the road, and at parking facilities, ATRI said. The research will utilize responses from both male and female drivers to identify and contrast unique challenges faced by women drivers. 

This research was identified as a top priority by ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee to address workforce shortages and safety concerns for women drivers, and identify steps the industry can take to increase the percentage of women drivers. 

The survey asks for driver perspectives and experiences:

  • When considering a career as a truck driver,
  • While obtaining a CDL,
  • Regarding challenges encountered as a truck driver, and
  • For those who no longer drive a truck, why they left the business.

Truck drivers can complete the confidential survey online here until Feb. 2.

[Related: Women of Trucking Advisory Board takes aim at billboard lawyers, NIMBYs]