SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations at the Port of Savannah seized just over 346 lbs. of cocaine from a shipping container at the Garden City Terminal on April 14.
Officers from CBP Savannah's Anti-Terrorism and Contraband Enforcement Team discovered 133 packages while inspecting shipping containers. Customs officers tested the substance, which tested positive for having the same properties as that of cocaine.
The estimated street value of the cocaine is more than $9 million. It's the second largest narcotics seizure at the port in the past year.
"Most successful narcotics enforcement operations are the direct result of solid teamwork. This significant cocaine seizure is a great testament to the dedication, perseverance, and resolve of our employees to keep these dangerous and deadly narcotics off of our communities' streets," said Lisa Beth M. Brown, CBP's port director for the Area Port of Savannah, in a news release.
In November 2012, customs seized 6,400 lbs. of a leafy substance that was identified by the Customs and Border Protection's Savannah Laboratory & Scientific Services as khat, which is a Schedule 1 narcotic.
The khat was shipped in a manner to preserve its freshness and was manifested as tea. It's estimated street value was about $1.7 million. Several people connected with the shipment were arrested.
Khat is a flowering shrub containing cathinone, and it is chemically similar to ephedrine and other amphetamines, according to a customs news release.
It's also a key ingredient in bath salts. This was the largest single khat seizure ever in the U.S., according to customs.
Investigations by ICE agents in Savannah continue into the two drug seizure cases.