Thursday, March 23, 2006

Seizure of ecstasy proof of 'new trend'

American officials say flow of tablets south rising.

U.S. officials are calling the seizure of 671,000 tablets of ecstasy at the Washington-B.C. border part of an increasing new smuggling problem, in addition to the already expected flow of marijuana.

"The new trend we're seeing up in western Washington coming down from British Columbia is a rise in ecstasy over the last few years," says Mike Milne of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "It's just grown in leaps and bounds."

U.S. border officers seized 210 kilograms of the drug along with 375 kg of marijuana during a routine check Thursday night at Blaine.

The drugs were found in 21 drums stashed among another 128 drums in a truck with Canadian plates purporting to carry shredded plastic.

The driver and passenger were briefly detained and released. No charges have been laid yet, Milne said.

"[The drugs] were in bags inside the drums," Milne said. "Some of them were hockey bags, some of them were not concealed at all."

"Narcotics smuggling from British Columbia continues to be a major . . . enforcement priority. Our continued vigilance has once again paid off," said U.S. border spokeswoman Lynn

Gardner, who called the seizure "significant."


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