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Smuggling of $2.1 million worth of ecstasy across border thwarted

CHAMPLAIN - U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the seizure of approximately 62 pounds of methylene-dioxymethamphetamine, better known as the club-drug "ecstasy," Sept. 20. The seizure resulted in the arrest of two Canadian citizens.

On Sept. 17, CBP officers encountered 40-year-old Santiago Roque Peralta and his 12-year-old son, as well as 39-year-old Laura Nin Nin and her 11-year-old son, all Canadian citizens from Laval, Quebec, as they applied for admission into the United States at the Champlain Port of Entry.

Roque Peralta and Nin Nin each made negative declarations and advised CBP they were en route to the Bronx to visit friends and family. Both subjects reportedly exhibited "extreme nervousness and had difficulty answering additional questions" related to their itinerary. All subjects were referred for a secondary enforcement exam and to confirm their immigration status.

During the inspection of the subject's vehicle, CBP officers utilized a portable contraband detector device known as a "Buster" that locates density anomalies concealed behind opaque surfaces, such as door panels and fuel tanks. When CBP officers used the device on the vehicle's spare tire, they received a higher than normal reading. The tire was removed from the vehicle and there was a noticeable weight difference from that of an average tire. A subsequent gamma-ray scan of the vehicle revealed several anomalies in the spare tire.

The spare tire was removed from the vehicle and cut open, revealing 82 vacuum-sealed bags of tablets which later field-tested positive for methylene-dioxymethamphetamine. The bags were found to contain approximately 107,871 pills with a total weight of 62 pounds.

"The ecstasy seized by CBP has a street value of approximately $2.1 million," said Champlain port director Paul Mongillo. "This significant interception of ecstasy has prevented a very dangerous drug from reaching our streets."

Roque Peralta and Nin Nin were arrested on federal charges of importation and possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. They were turned over to agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation and prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York. Both minor children were released to family members in Canada.

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