Kentucky truck police out in force | 6.5 tons of meth seized at border

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024:

Kentucky cracking down on unsafe driving between cars, trucks

Kentucky State Police (KSP) Commercial Vehicle Enforcement will participate in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Operation SafeDRIVE (Distracted Reckless Impaired Visibility Enforcement) from Feb. 27-29.

This enforcement campaign, part of FMCSA’s “Our Roads, Our Safety” program, targets unsafe driving behavior that can lead to crashes involving passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

The national SafeDRIVE initiative takes aim at dangerous interstate driving behaviors -- aggressive driving, speeding, tailgating, failing to wear a seat belt, distracted driving and driving under the influence. As part of the initiative, KSP inspectors will man scale facilities, ensuring truckers follow safety regulations, including the hours of service and CDL rules and have up-to-date medical certs and relevant, necessary truck credentials.

[Related: Roadcheck 2024: Inspectors looking for drugs, alcohol, and steady gladhands]

Officer Stevie Douglas, East Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Spokesperson, said 62% of fatal large truck crashes involve two or more vehicles.

“Our CVE officers and inspectors are committed to preventing dangerous driving behaviors like aggressive or distracted driving,” said Douglas. â€śCrashes are preventable, and this initiative makes it safer for everyone on our roadways.”

KSP is encouraging passenger car drivers to take the following advice while driving on the roads:

[Related: Ways to avoid trouble at the scale house, with Roadcheck on the horizon]

6.5 tons of meth seized from truck at border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized six and a half tons of methamphetamine valued at more than $117 million from a tractor-trailer earlier this month. CBP said it’s the largest ever drug seizure at a port of entry in a single enforcement action.

The seizure occurred on Sunday, Feb. 18, at the Camino Real International Bridge in Eagle Pass, Texas, when a CBP officer referred a tractor-trailer manifesting a shipment of drying agent for piglets for secondary inspection. Following a canine and non-intrusive inspection system examination, CBP officers discovered a total of nearly 13,101 pounds of alleged methamphetamine within the conveyance. The narcotics had a street value of $117.1 million.

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“This gargantuan methamphetamine seizure, the largest ever taken down by CBP officers at a port of entry, uniquely illustrates the serious narcotics threat our officers face on a daily basis and their effectiveness at utilizing our technological enforcement tools, expertise and experience to zero-in on these threats,” said Director of CBP Field Operations Donald Kusser, Laredo Field Office. “This seizure exemplifies our officers’ steadfast commitment to advancing CBP’s priority border security mission while facilitating lawful trade and travel.”

CBP seized the narcotics. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents are investigating the seizure.

“For far too long, drug trafficking organizations have been raking in billions of dollars at the expense of our communities that are left ravaged by addiction, death and despair as a result of these poisonous substances,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson, HSI Houston. “Thanks to the outstanding teamwork between HSI Houston, HSI Eagle Pass, HSI Mexico City and our partners at CBP, we have prevented a record-breaking amount of these narcotics from making it to Houston where they would have destroyed an untold number of lives.” 

[Related: Smuggled tramadol found in-cab at border]

California border agents stop two truck-involved drug smuggling attempts

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers at the Area Port of Calexico seized approximately $1.5 million worth of methamphetamine from a tractor-trailer attempting to cross the border. A separate incident at the Otay Mesa, California, Commercial Facility resulted in more than $3 million worth of cocaine in a truck.

non-factory drug smuggling compartment on truckCBP officers discovered and extracted a total of 427 suspicious packages from this non-factory compartment on a tractor-trailer.U.S. Customs and Border ProtectionThe Calexico seizure occurred on Feb. 16. CBP officers encountered a 68-year-old man driving a tractor-trailer pulling a hopper tanker. The driver, a valid border crossing card holder, was referred for further examination by CBP officers along with the tractor-trailer after system queries revealed the tanker was not listed in the shipment manifest.

In the secondary inspection area, a CBP K-9 unit screened the trailer and alerted officers to examine the trailer more closely. Officers then used non-intrusive scanning technology to discover several anomalies concealed throughout the hopper of the trailer.

Upon further examination, CBP officers discovered and extracted a total of 427 suspicious packages from a non-factory compartment. The contents of the packages were tested and identified as methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $1,551,528 with a weight of 861.96 pounds.

[Related: Truck drivers among 10 arrested, 19 charged in international drug smuggling case]

Fake shipment of limes drug smugglingCBP officers at the Otay Mesa Commercial Facility discovered more than $3 million worth of cocaine hidden in a shipment of limes.U.S. Customs and Border ProtectionAt the Otay Mesa facility on Feb. 22, CBP officers encountered a 42-year-old man driving a tractor-trailer with a shipment manifested as Persian limes. The driver, a valid border crossing card holder, was referred for further examination by CBP officers along with the tractor-trailer and shipment. 

In the secondary inspection area, a CBP K-9 unit screened the shipment and alerted officers to examine the trailer more closely.

Upon further examination, CBP officers discovered and extracted a total of 158 suspicious packages. The contents of the packages were tested and identified as cocaine with a weight of 435 pounds and an estimated street value of $3,355,800.

All subjects were turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations for further processing. The narcotics and vehicles were seized by CBP officers.

These seizures are part of Operation Apollo, a joint regional operation comprised of federal, state and local agencies working to combat the threat from fentanyl and other illicit synthetic narcotics.

[Related: Busted: Yet another truck-involved drug smuggling operation]

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