Cocaine seized during shipment through Louisville's UPS hub

(Photo courtesy: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
(Photo courtesy: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

By Caton Bredar - bio  | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - You wouldn't think it happens much at the Louisville International Airport, but U.S. Customs agents make major smuggling busts here in Kentucky. They are averaging 240 seizures a month just at Louisville International. WAVE 3's Caton Bredar reports on the latest illegal discovery.

It's not the size of the bust that's so surprising, it is more the method used to smuggle the drugs via UPS shipments and the lengths smugglers go to, to get them there.

Wednesday, U.S. Customs officials at the Louisville's UPS hub seized more than 226 grams of cocaine - nearly half a pound - hidden inside the frame of a child's red bicycle. The shipment was arriving from Venezuela, headed for the country of Guinea when it attracted the attention of inspectors and was tagged for additional x-ray.

According to Gary Halkins, port director of the Customs & Border Patrol, "it was the routing as well as the commodity, which peaked the officers' curiosity."

X-rays revealed some unusual patterns in the bike frame, so officers disassembled it and discovered seven bundles of cocaine. The package, which officers described as about two feet deep, also included shoes, plastic keyboards and other toys, which agents say, especially, smugglers are using more of lately.

This is the third cocaine shipment in the last week intercepted at UPS with over 2,300 illegal seizures so far in 2008.

Because the drugs are being shipped between foreign countries, drug enforcement agents aren't likely to make any arrests. But the drugs and the bike will eventually be destroyed. The remaining items get sent to the original recipient without the drugs.