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Drugs, guns and ancient Egyptian artifacts among items seized at Michigan borders last year

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents in Michigan led the nation during the last fiscal year in interceptions of unreported cash and potentially harmful biological specimens, while also seizing drugs, guns, counterfeit items and ancient Egyptian artifacts.

Christopher Perry, director of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Detroit Field Office, announces 2019 seizures at Michigan's borders

Officials from the CBP's Detroit Field Office announced the seizures Wednesday at a press conference at the agency's Fort Street Cargo Facility at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge in southwest Detroit. The confiscations took place during the fiscal year, from Oct. 1, 2018-Sept. 30, 2019.

"Our officers ... worked countless hours to safeguard the American homeland at and beyond our nation's borders," said Christopher Perry, director of field operations for the agency's Detroit Field Office.

The Detroit Field Office handles inspections of vehicles at the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie and Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

A package of opium, part of 267 pounds of the drug that was confiscated at Michigan borders in 2019

The seizures include firearms, 600 pounds of cocaine, 496 pounds of marijuana, 267 pounds of opium, 13.4 pounds of methamphetamine and 10.4 pounds of fentanyl — enough to kill 1.5 million people, Perry said. 

In addition to the drugs and guns, CBP agents intercepted counterfeit Apple earbuds and Nintendo parts, boxes of knock-off Kylie makeup, and artifacts from ancient Egypt, including a tiny figurine of Bastet, an Egyptian goddess. The figurine is estimated to be from 672-332 BC, officials said.

Agents at the Bluewater Bridge last year also confiscated mummy wrappings, said Michael Fox, director of the CBP's Port of Port Huron.

A figurine of the ancient Egyptian goddess Bastet was among the items seized at Michigan's borders in 2019

"(Agents) intercepted five jars of mummy linens, which date back to 305 to 330 BC," Fox said. "We're working with the State Department to repatriate these artifacts."

Also confiscated last year were Khapra beetles, which Fox said were "one of the world's most destructive pests. Their introduction to the United States would be catastrophic."

A pistol, magazines and ammunition seized by federal agents last year

When Perry was asked which intercepted items were of the most concern, he said it was the fentanyl.

"Such small amounts can have such a devastating effect on the community," he said. 

ghunter@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2134

Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN