The dogs and their handlers have to be on their game because the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the drug smugglers borders on the brilliant: Cocaine found in the handle of a passenger suitcase at Newark or in hollowed out wooden hangars. Cocaine found in buttons of scarfs and blankets at JFK or in powdered milk containers.
"Just last week, we found cocaine in cans - food cans. Seal it and it looks like a commercial product. We see it in candy bars. We see things like blue jeans that are inebriated with liquid cocaine," Adele Fasano, Customs Border Protection, Newark Port Director, said.
Earlier this year, a drug sniffing dog alerted custom officers to two Bronx women smuggling 6 kilos of cocaine in makeshift adult diapers at JFK.
"I've seen macram? wall hangings filled with narcotics, even cardboard boxes, they secret the narcotic within the cardboard itself," Fasano said.
Through a Freedom of Information request, we obtained data from Customs and Border Protection which shows a massive amount of drugs have been seized at JFK and Newark Liberty Airports in just the last three years.
At JFK nearly 8-thousand pounds of cocaine seized from fiscal year 2011 through fiscal year 2013. 15-hundred pounds of heroin found. At Newark, during the same 3 year period, nearly 3-thousand pounds of cocaine and 124 pounds of heroin.
Combined, more than 6 tons of cocaine and heroin have been seized at the two airports in the last 3 years.
"A lot of the narcotic seizures are based on our officers skills, detection, sizing up individual, looking at behavior," Fasano said.
It's NOT just drugs, the data show that someone tried to smuggle in 3 machine guns at Newark, and 1 missile seized at JFK. And, at the Port of Newark, agents seized more than 1-point-six million rounds of ammunition.
"That would be a container full of ammunition that for some reason didn't meet entry requirements into the U.S. We seized it and destroyed it," Fasano said.
Drug mules can make more than $15-thousand dollars per haul. But those who get caught can end up in prison for 10 years.
If you have a tip about this or any other issue you'd like investigated, please give our tipline a call at 877-TIP-NEWS. You may also e-mail us at email@example.com.