Customs officials in South Florida say drug smugglers are finding a variety of creative ways to conceal their goods, from using submarines to hiding drugs in beans and nuts.
The Sun-Sentinel reports the Coast Guard last month seized a semi-submersible submarine containing 15,000 pounds of cocaine. Last week, officials found 13 pounds of cocaine hidden in kidney beans and pistachio nuts at the airport in Fort Lauderdale.
In 2009, a man was caught at Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport with cocaine in a roasted chicken, according to the article. Cocaine and marijuana have also been smuggled in soup packets. In one case, heroin was surgically implanted in purebred puppies.
Smugglers have mixed cocaine with melted plastic and injected it into molds of dog bowls or pet carrying cases. Later, these items are chopped up and dissolved in acid to release the drug. Clothing and tablecloths can be soaked in liquefied heroin; the items are then boiled with solvent to return the drug back to its original form.
X-rays, gamma rays and drug-sniffing dogs assist customs officers and drug agents in searching for drugs. However, many drug seizures are a result of old-fashioned searching techniques, such as looking under a pallet with a mirror at the end of a stick, or slicing open a kidney bean, according to Chuck Prichard, spokesman for the South Florida Division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Good old officer intuition is what goes into us catching people,” he said.