Amazon Packages Of Garden Stones Are Being Used To Smuggle Meth, Feds Say
Amazon is working with Homeland Security Investigations to look into what investigators say is a global narcotics organization shipping methamphetamine under the guise of decorative stones that are used for gardens and model railways.
The investigation was revealed in a search warrant for a package located at an Amazon Fulfillment Center in San Diego, which was labeled as a box of “ornamental stones,” but which federal agents suspect contains meth.
Amazon and HSI have uncovered at least five vendor accounts using the tech giant’s international shipping services to move the narcotic across the world, investigators said. According to HSI, the narcotics traffickers are distributing “kilogram quantities of controlled substances destined for international sale” via Amazon.
So far, police have seized two packages from the suspicious vendor accounts that contained “bulk controlled substances.” One was intercepted on October 28 by Customs and Border Protection in Louisville, Kentucky, before it could make its way to its destination in Australia. It contained over 5 kilograms of methamphetamine. Three days later, on Halloween, Amazon and HSI agents in Michigan inspected a parcel claiming to contain preowned slate stone for toy railways and garden pots. It contained nearly 6 kilograms of meth.
On November 8, a police sniffer dog named “Blue” was called on to inspect a package from one of the suspect accounts. The package claimed to contain ornamental stones for the potting of succulent plants, but Blue, trained to detect the odors of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, slowed his breathing and placed his nose on the parcel, the dog’s tell that it contained an illegal substance. The search warrant discovered by Forbes was for that parcel, as police wait for approval to open it and carry out lab tests to determine if it’s meth or other drugs.
The court document revealed neither names for any suspects nor more detail on the gang behind the shipments. Amazon, HSI and the Justice Department office for the southern district of California, which is leading the investigation, had not provided comment at the time of publication.
Previously, Amazon customers have been surprised to find illegal drugs in their packages. In 2020, a Glendale, California, customer received opioids, including oxycodone and morphine, in her Amazon package. Last year in India, police summoned Amazon executives in an investigation where the site was allegedly used for smuggling 1,000 kilograms of weed masquerading as dry stevia leaves, a natural food sweetener.
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