NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (RECENT) (REUTERS) – Drug-filled packages with misleading labels have become a common sight at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s (JFK) sprawling mail-sorting hangars, a front line in the battle against opioids. Many of the parcels originate in China, having been ordered on the web’s darker corners
“We’ve been getting, in candles, we’ve been getting GBL (Gamma-Butyrolactone). In speakers, we’ve been getting Xanax. We were able to get fentanyl in a teddy bear. Any kind of concealment method they’ll think about it,” said Kim Ciccolella of the U.S. Customs and Border Control.
Customs agents with X-ray machines and sniffer dogs detect and seize what they can. But to track, arrest and prosecute suspected dealers, the New York HSI office organizes several controlled deliveries each month, taking the packages out to see who claims them.
In 2016, customs agents caught nine packages at JFK containing fentanyl, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). So far this year, they have seized more than 200, in part because of expanded screening and better training.