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Border agents seize huge amount of marijuana off a ship

Are drug charges serious? Some may believe that misdemeanor charges are not as serious. But even though penalties may not be severe, the implications of a conviction for a drug charge can be far-reaching. It can impact one's future as well as one's reputation.

What about felony drug charges? Often what defines a drug crime as a felony is the amount of drugs involved. So how serious is it if U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials find almost two tons of marijuana?

Federal authorities seized nearly 4,000 pounds of marijuana off of a ship when it stopped at a U.S. port. Valuing the drugs at approximately $7.6 million, law enforcement officials are investigating whether they can charge specific individuals with a drug crime. So far, no arrests have resulted from the seizure and there is no information as to whether any suspects have been identified.

The drugs were allegedly loaded into the ship in containers taken on during a stop in Jamaica. Investigators stated that the drugs were not very well concealed, although placed between an iron oxide known as magnetite. The marijuana was apparently easily seen when the containers were opened.

This isn't the first time that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found an uncommonly large amount of drugs. In 2009, approximately 3,500 pounds of marijuana were seized by authorities who used drug-sniffing dogs and an x-ray examination of cargo containers to detect the contraband being smuggled. Those drugs were also allegedly loaded onto the ship in Jamaica.

If the federal agents find suspects and charge them, the penalties for this particular alleged drug crime will likely be great.

Source: Miami Herald: "Nearly 2 tons of marijuana found at Miami port," Lomi Kriel, Oct. 20, 2011

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