Marijuana smuggling attempt foiled at Baltimore airport

BALTIMORE – A smuggling attempt was thwarted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on February 25, when they intercepted a 32-pound load of marijuana. The illicit cargo was discovered in the suitcase of a 22-year-old woman from California, who was attempting to transport the drugs to London via a flight bound for Reykjavik, Iceland.

Despite the passenger not currently facing charges, authorities are conducting a criminal investigation into the incident. The discovery was made during a routine check of luggage destined for the Iceland flight, with subsequent travel planned to London. The baggage tag led officers to the passenger at the departure gate, where both she and her suitcase were taken to a CBP inspection station. There, officers found 30 vacuum-sealed packages of marijuana, totaling approximately 14.47 kilograms (31 pounds, 14 ounces).

The seized marijuana has an estimated street value of up to $150,000 in the United States. However, its value could increase significantly if sold in Europe, where high-quality cannabis commands much higher prices. This seizure is part of a growing trend observed by CBP of U.S.-based marijuana being shipped to Europe and Africa, often in smaller parcels, though cases of travelers with marijuana-stuffed suitcases are also encountered.

This incident follows recent seizures at Washington Dulles International Airport, where 73 pounds of marijuana and 88 pounds of hashish were intercepted, with the passengers involved being charged by Virginia State Police.

Adam Rottman, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Baltimore, emphasized that while marijuana may be decriminalized in some states, federal laws against bulk smuggling remain in effect. He warned, “Smugglers gamble with their freedom to chase a few extra bucks,” highlighting the commitment of CBP officers to seize marijuana and work with law enforcement partners to hold smugglers accountable.

In a separate incident a week prior, CBP officers at BWI seized nearly eight pounds of coca leaves from two women arriving from Panama City, Panama, reiterating the illegality of bringing coca leaves into the United States.

CBP remains vigilant in its mission to protect the U.S. borders from a variety of threats, including illicit narcotics, through the diligent work of its officers and agriculture specialists.–Web Desk