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CBP officers intercept major ecstasy smuggling attempt

CHAMPLAIN - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations announced June 3 the seizure of approximately 49 pounds of methylene-dioxymethamphetamine, better known as the club-drug "ecstasy." The seizure resulted in the arrest of a Canadian citizen.

On June 3, CBP officers encountered Tara Haynes, 34, Montreal, Quebec, as she applied for admission into the United States at the Champlain Port of Entry. Haynes made a negative declaration and advised CBP that she was traveling to New York City to visit her boyfriend.

Haynes reportedly exhibited nervousness during her primary interview and had difficulty answering additional questions related to her itinerary. Due to these reasons, she was referred for a secondary enforcement exam where an inspection was performed on the subject's vehicle and revealed that the gas tank had been manipulated.

CBP officers examined the area underneath the backseat and found that bags of pills had been concealed within the gas tank. The pills field tested positive for properties of MDMA. The bags were found to contain approximately 70,000 pills with a weight of approximately 49 pounds.

The seized narcotics have an estimated street value of $1.4 million.

"This case is an excellent example of the challenges Customs and Border Protection Officers face as they inspect arriving passengers seeking admission to the United States on a day-to-day basis." said James Engleman, Director of Field Operations for the Buffalo Field Office. "The detection and seizure of dangerous narcotics attempting to be smuggled into the United States, is one of the primary missions of CBP and contributes to the safety of our communities both locally and throughout the U.S."

Haynes was arrested on federal charges of importation and possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance and turned over to agents from U.S. Homeland Security Investigations for further investigation and prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York.

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