Texas Officers Seized Shipment of Baby Wipes at the Border. It Turned Out to be Cocaine Worth $11.8 Million.

It was the “largest bust in 20 years.”

Smugglers have been known to get highly creative about transporting their contraband, leading to almost an entire genre of weird-news stories. But one group of drug smugglers really tried to take things to the next level recently, disguising a huge load of narcotics as hundreds of packages of baby wipes. Too bad their gambit didn't work out—they were caught. Read on to find out what happened and how common this kind of bust is.

Nearly $12 Million Seized


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized $11.8 million of cocaine last Friday at the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge, the agency said. The bridge spans the Rio Grande and connects Texas with the Mexican state of Nuevo Laredo. CBP officers became suspicious of a trailer truck which claimed to be carrying only baby wipes and sent it for a second inspection. A canine and "non-intrusive" search turned up 1,935 packages filled with 1,533 pounds of cocaine, officials said in a press release.

"Largest Bust in 20 Years"


"Colossal, record setting seizure. Largest Cocaine bust in 20 years!," tweeted Randy Howe, the director of field operations at the CBP office in Laredo. "The Laredo Port of Entry seizes over 1,500 pounds of cocaine from Transnational Criminal Organizations! Extremely proud of our @CBP employees for keeping our communities safe."

Officials are Investigating


Customs and homeland security officials are investigating. "Officers assigned to CBP cargo facilities ensure effective border security by preventing and countering the flow of suspected narcotics entering the country," said Alberto Flores, the port director for the Laredo Port of Entry, in a news release. "This seizure is a prime example of border security management and how it helps prevent dangerous narcotics from reaching our communities."

Other Drug Seizures Reported This Summer


Details about the driver, the truck's destination or charges related to the seizure were unclear. CBS News reports that border patrol officers in Laredo have reported some smaller drug busts this summer. In June and July, CBP said agents discovered an alleged cocaine shipment worth more than $600,000 in the tires of a trailer said to be transporting juice, and more than $1 million worth of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine inside a shipment of statues. On Monday, the agency said it had intercepted a fentanyl shipment worth $390,000 from a car entering the U.S. from Mexico. 

Nearly Half a Million Pounds of Drugs Seized Last Year


USA Today reports that border officials have seized about 553,000 pounds of drugs so far in the fiscal year 2022, which runs from October to September, according to the latest CBP data. Last year, nearly 914,000 pounds of drugs were seized.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more
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