U.S. border authorities report 1,700 per cent increase in Michigan-bound drug seizures
WINDSOR, ONT. -- The U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency reports its Detroit field office has seen a 1,700 per cent increase in drug seizures over the past 12 months.
On Tuesday, the CBP reported figures for its fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020 which showed the sharp increase in drugs moving across the border into Michigan in addition to a 200 per cent rise in gun seizures.
“It’s been really quite a year for us,” said Christopher Perry, the director of field operations of CBP.
Perry says the agency seized more than 9,000 pounds of cannabis, 200 guns including 5,000 rounds of ammunition and enough fentanyl to kill 3-million people.
According to Perry, demand in the U.S. is driving the flow of dangerous goods across the border.
“The other thing I think, organized crime — they need to make their money,” said Perry. “Whatever they can do to get these dangerous drugs across the border.”
The increase is reported at a time when the Canadian-U.S. border has been closed to non-essential travel for months.
The restrictions were first put in place in March and have continually been extended; the latest expiration of border restrictions have now been pushed to November 21, 2020.
“If anything I think the shutdown or the non-essential travel restrictions probably significantly reduced what we would’ve ultimately seen,” said Perry.
The majority of drug seizures were tied to commercial trucks and not passenger vehicles, according to Perry.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) does not report seizure figures by port of entry due to “operational” and “security” concerns.
In an email to CTV News, CBSA notes:
“Firearms and drug seizures are strong examples of how our frontline border services officers and intelligence personnel continue to work diligently to keep Canadians safe by addressing risks and threats during this time,” said Judith Gadbois-St-Cyr, a spokesperson with CBSA.
According to public statistics, the CBSA has total seizures of 14,462 through the first quarter of 2020/2021 including 6,600 pounds of cannabis, 166 firearms and over one pound of fentanyl country-wide.
Perry says the two agencies continue to communicate daily to stop the movement of dangerous goods on both sides of the border.
“We’re two great, friendly nations with a long history of friendship,” said Perry.
The Detroit field office statistics represent all traffic moving from Canada into Michigan.