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Drug Traffickers in Puerto Rico Use U.S. Postal Service to Ship Cocaine

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Drug traffickers in Puerto Rico are using the United States Postal Service and private overnight couriers to smuggle cocaine, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

The cocaine shipments are usually one or two kilograms per parcel. Smugglers have come up with some creative places to hide the drugs, including car parts and bologna. Smugglers may have the packages delivered to a false address and wait for the delivery truck, or they may stop drivers en route and ask for the packages.

Once drugs are smuggled into Puerto Rico, often from Colombia via the Dominican Republic, it is easier to get them into the United States because it is a U.S. territory. Customs inspectors cannot open a suspicious package mailed within the United States, including Puerto Rico, without a search warrant from a judge.

Michael Romano, a spokesman for the United States Postal Inspection Service, told the AP that drug seizures have been on the rise across the country as the effort to fight smuggling gets more aggressive. The article notes that in fiscal year 2010, the government seized 37,700 pounds of illegal drugs, up from about 8,000 pounds of drugs found in the mail in 2006.

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