A year in seizures — what U.S. Customs and Border Protection discovered in 2011

A member of the US Border Patrol walks b

Francisco Vega/AFP/Getty Images

A member of the US Border Patrol walks behind the line of cars at the San Ysidro gate at the border between Mexico and the United States.

For U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents, 2011 was a year of 340 million travelers, 4.3 million containers, $2.3 trillion in trade, and the seizure of approximately five million pounds of narcotics and $126 million in undeclared currency.

CBP compiled a list of top 10 unique and significant seizures, but, given the data, it seems our local enforcers are due their own year-in-review retrospective.

The regional rundown of the best in bogus, broken, dangerous, contaminated, stolen, poached, and illegal goods nabbed at nearby borders and ports looks something like this Southern California:

SEIZED - The one about the car bumper and glove box that were filled with cocaine.

SEIZED - That time a "trusted traveler" was found with 577 pounds of marijuana.

SEIZED - Those 55 live, exotic reptiles found inside cookie boxes and the live khapra beetle larvae discovered in a shipment of rice.

SEIZED - When 1.5 tons of meth chemicals sent from China did not get to Illinois.

SEIZED - In which a wheelchair was found fitted with drugs.

SEIZED - Once upon a time when coolers of fish covered illegal iguana meat and more than a ton of marijuana was hidden in a shipment of lettuce.

SEIZED - How 4.4 million counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes never got smoked.

SEIZED - What fate befell 30,000 pairs of counterfeit Lacoste sunglasses, Paul Frank pajamas from Indonesia, and $14.3 million worth of fake designer duds.

SEIZED - Where the story ends as a Porsche stolen 23 years ago is found in a crate bound for the Netherlands.

National highlights include the interception of a woman found driving an arsenal of weapons and ammunition in Texas, counterfeit Cisco Systems computer equipment headed for Washington, D.C., a weekend in the Rio Grande that netted 2.5 tons of marijuana, and a boat busted with 661 pounds of cocaine.

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