BUFFALO, N.Y. , U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Peace Bridge port of entry seized 13,200 pounds of tobacco, valued at more than $530,000.

The action began on December 8, when CBP officers and members of the Homeland Security Investigations Border Enforcement Security Task Force at Peace Bridge encountered an outbound pickup truck towing a trailer. The truck and trailer were selected for secondary examination, where the driver indicated that the trailer was empty.

An exam of the trailer revealed boxes of loose-leaf tobacco in unlabeled boxes, loaded on pallets. A subsequent investigation led by HSI revealed the tobacco was being smuggled out of the U.S. into Canada to avoid paying U.S. and Canadian taxes and duties.

“CBP is the last line of defense in the export control process,” said Acting Port Director Cary Frieling. “CBP uses its authority to inspect, search, detain and seize goods being exported illegally.”

“Smugglers who think that our ports of entry are an easy target for contraband are seriously mistaken,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kelly.  “HSI remains committed to our partnership with CBP to vigorously protect the integrity of our nation’s borders.”

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