Drug Producing Devices Intercepted by Chicago US CBP

 Several shipments containing instruments drug traffickers use to manufacture illicit drugs were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Chicago on January 7.

A few shipments contained pill press die sets, while another package concealed an entire pill press machine. In the wrong hands, individuals can use these pill presses to manufacture their drugs in tablet form. Drug traffickers can use these to create several narcotics, most commonly fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, or other synthetic opioids. The five shipments, which all arrived from China, were heading to individual residences in: Thompsonville, Illinois; Spencerville, Ohio; Kannapolis, North Carolina; Hartsville, South Carolina; and Traverse City, Michigan. All the shipments were seized for unlawful importation of drug paraphernalia.

“Our ability to collect intelligence and the experience and knowledge of our officers were key in stopping these shipments,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations, Chicago Field Office. “CBP officers throughout the nation remain committed to stopping these dangerous shipments, interrupting supply chains, and helping protect our communities from these potentially deadly narcotics.”

The CBP Strategy to Combat Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Drugs drives a whole-of-CBP approach feeding into the work taking place all across DHS as CBP leads interagency efforts against illicit synthetic narcotics. This strategy aligns resources, enhances partnerships, and builds on CBP’s successful enforcement intelligence and data-driven operations, while leveraging CBP’s vast expertise and data holdings to disrupt the transnational criminal organizations responsible for the illicit production, distribution, and trafficking of illicit fentanyl, its analogues, and other synthetic drugs in the United States.

CBP continues to conduct operations targeting the smuggling of illicit fentanyl and other dangerous drugs. These operations leverage intelligence and investigative information to target drug traffickers’ supply chains and interdict items required in the production of illicit fentanyl, including precursor chemicals, pill presses and parts, movement of finished product, and illicit proceeds.

An example of one operation is CBP officers at the Los Angeles International Airport stopped a shipment from the People’s Republic of China, which contained a tablet press used to manufacture pills of dangerous drugs that include fentanyl. In fiscal year 2023, CBP seized more than 27,000 pounds of fentanyl, compared with over 14,600 pounds in fiscal year 2022. CBP’s fentanyl seizures in fiscal year 2023 increased more than 860% compared to fiscal year 2019.