DETROIT (WWJ) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say seizures of drugs and guns drastically increased in 2021, including more than 14,000 lbs. of marijuana – a nearly 2,800% increase compared to 2019.
Officials with the agency on Thursday released statistics on seizures over the past year at Michigan’s five international ports of entry, including two in Detroit.
The ports of entry include Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie and Detroit Metro Airport.
Christopher Perry, the director of CBP’s field operations in Michigan, tells WWJ it wasn’t just marijuana that saw a big increase in 2021.
Authorities also seized 240 lbs. of cocaine (a 14% increase compared to 2019), 25 lbs. of methamphetamine (up 1,600%) and 3 lbs. of fentanyl.
While that may seem like a miniscule amount of fentanyl, Perry puts it in perspective:
“Two milligrams is a fatal dose, so that 2.88 – or just under 3 lbs – of fentanyl, that had the potential to kill 650,000 people,” he said.
In addition to all the drugs seized, Perry says authorities stopped 181 firearms, over 40,000 rounds of ammunition and more than $5.6 million in cash from entering the U.S.
“Certainly, you have just individuals attempting to bring in small quantities for personal use, but most of it’s related to organized crime. It’s not just the narcotics that’s related to organized crime, it’s the counterfeit merchandise, it’s all these other commodities that come in illegally because all these things are used to fund these enterprises,” he said.
There are a number of intelligence and law enforcement partners that CBP works with to crack down on drugs and guns entering the country, but Perry says a lot of it comes down to one thing.
“I’ll tell you, most of this is just hard work and commitment by officers who are out there every single day trying to keep America safe, just inspecting cars and trucks and airplanes and passengers coming into the country,” he said.