The pandemic may be keeping cross-border traffic to a minimum, but weed seizures in 2020 are maxing out

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There seems to be no stopping drug seizures, the majority being cannabis, at border crossings in New York state, with the amount of confiscated weed increasing more than 1,100 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) figures from its annual report show that 3,456 pounds (1,568 kg) of cannabis was seized at the Buffalo Field Office in fiscal year 2019, a mere portion of the 41,688 pounds (18,909 kg) confiscated in fiscal 2020. The field office covers 16 ports of entry in the state of New York.

Other drugs were seized, but their amounts paled in comparison to cannabis. In fact, one of the 2020 seizures represented a northern border record and involved 9,472 pounds (4,296 kg) of marijuana.

That said, seizures involving some other substances also skyrocketed, while others dropped like a stone.

Overall during fiscal 2020, “field office personnel seized 42,015 pounds (19, 058 kg) of narcotics, an increase of 968 per cent from the prior fiscal year,” according to a CBP press release. CBP officers also arrested 319 people and seized US$543,015 in unreported currency.

While seizures of cocaine and heroin were up, albeit representing very small amounts, totals confiscated for methamphetamine, fentanyl and crystal methamphetamine and “all other drugs” declined from 2019 to 2020.

Saying she was proud of efforts by CBP staff in Buffalo, field office director Rose Brophy noted that their “continued to enforce our laws and intercepted thousands of pounds of narcotics, seized large amounts of unreported currency related to criminal organizations and took hundreds of firearms and criminals off of our streets.”

Michigan, another busy stop for cross-border traffic, also saw a big hike in cannabis seizures in fiscal 2020. The amount of weed confiscated at the states five ports of entry rose 1,726 per cent. Again, the amount seized was unprecedented, CBP reports.

Entry points covered by the CBP’s Detroit Field Office include the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit Windsor Tunnel, the Blue Water Bridge, the International Bridge and the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

“This past year, the men and women of CBP worked through some of the most adverse conditions that we have ever asked them to work through especially here in Detroit,” Christopher Perry, director of field operations for CBP in Detroit,s says in the statement.

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