LAREDO, Texas - A press release from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission reports that a TABC employee successfully prevented the illegal importation of crystal methamphetamines valued at approximately $25,000 hidden in several bottles of beer.
The Regulatory Compliance Officer (RCO) was working at TABC’s Laredo Ports of Entry station March 17 when they noticed a traveler attempting to import several 40-ounce bottles of beer. Upon inspecting the bottles, the employee noticed that the liquid inside appeared suspicious.
“The liquid appeared to contain several crystals,” TABC Ports of Entry Director John Reney said. “When our inspector noticed this, they immediately notified an officer from Customs and Border Patrol who detained the traveler.”
CBP officials later confirmed that the suspicious crystals were methamphetamines. The person attempting to import the drugs was turned over to federal authorities for further investigation. In all, Customs officials seized more than 11 kilograms of meth.
“This incident goes to show the importance of TABC’s mission at Texas’ ports of entry,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “If it weren’t for the astute observations of the RCO, it’s very likely that these dangerous drugs would have found their way into the United States, placing the safety of Texas citizens at risk.”
TABC’s Ports of Entry division is charged with inspecting and assessing state taxes on alcohol and cigarettes brought into the country via the Texas-Mexico land border and through the state’s cruise ship terminals. Division employees also enforce limits on alcohol importation as well as laws prohibiting importation of alcohol by minors and intoxicated persons. The division is also responsible for intercepting any illicit or dangerous alcohol, including containers containing illegal drugs or other dangerous substances.
In 2018, TABC RCOs inspected more than 1.8 million alcohol containers, collecting more than $7.3 million in taxes for the state treasury. For more information about Ports of Entry, visit https://www.tabc.texas.gov/poe/index.asp
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