U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Memphis yielded nearly 200 seizures of counterfeit ID cards and illegal narcotics over the past 16 months as part of Operation Mega Flex.
Operation Mega Flex is a CBP-led, interagency effort that was initiated in July 2019 to measure compliance and assess illicit networks in the international mail environment through periodic enhanced inspections. The ongoing operation is part of the Trump Administration’s commitment to protecting U.S. businesses and consumers from unfair Chinese trade practices. CBP conducts Mega Flex operations at international mail facilities and express consignment hubs nationwide in close coordination with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
“China is a major source country for contraband including fraudulent identity documents, controlled substances, and commodities that pose threats to U.S. agriculture,” said Michael Neipert, CBP Area Port of Memphis Director. “With all the uncertainty currently facing our nation, it is inherent that CBP Memphis Officers/Agriculture specialists remain steadfast in securing the nation’s borders.”
In September 2020, for example, CBP Officers in Memphis seized more than a kilogram of a white, powdery substance manifested as “Silicon Dioxide” in a shipment from China. After laboratory testing, CBP determined the substance to be Xylazine, a horse tranquilizer that is sometimes used to cut heroin and fentanyl.
However, the majority of the seizures out of Memphis were counterfeit drivers’ licenses. The shipments originated from China and were being shipped to various destinations throughout the United States. Many of the shipments were smuggled in the bottom of boxes containing tassles, clothing, and even bundles of synthetic hair.
On average, CBP processes more than 420,000 parcels of mail and 180,000 express consignment shipments from China each day. Through Operation Mega Flex, CBP has found that approximately 12.5 percent of targeted parcels contain counterfeit goods or contraband.
CBP urges consumers nationwide to exercise diligence when making online purchases or otherwise ordering products through the international mail. The illicit and potentially dangerous goods seized in Operation Mega Flex have been destined for locations throughout the United States, including Castle Rock, Colorado; Grandview, Missouri; Palm Harbor, Florida; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“Whether purchased online or in stores, counterfeit and illicit products threaten the security and prosperity of Americans throughout the country,” said William A. Ferrara, CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Field Operations. “The dedicated men and women of CBP will continue to use all available means to protect Americans and our businesses from dangerous goods.”