The Canada Border Services Agency officers are on high alert as more and more illicit drugs come into the country.
Jeryn Peters is the Chief of Operations for CBSA. She said as smugglers get more creative, fentanyl is being seen in high volumes coming in through mail and air cargo.
Fentanyl is playing a big role in the changing landscape of the job on the front lines as CBSA officers work to stop dangerous packages that have already made it across the border, from making it out of their facilities.
“We are seeing an increase in highly toxic substances and narcotics coming through in a variety of modes,” Peters said.
CBSA Officers in Manitoba said they made 86 narcotics seizures in 2017.
In 2016, the number was a little higher at 109 seizures, while it was just 78 narcotics seizures in 2015.
“With an increase in, you know highly toxic substances and synthetic opioids specifically recently, we’re seeing more of that coming through in this mode as well,” Peters said.
And, with the increase in the presence of fentanyl in packages and shipments trying to sneak through, Peters said the tools in officers’ tool belts have had to change.
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“All of our work locations do have a supply of naloxone,” Peters said.
Naloxone, ready and available to combat a possible fentanyl overdose that could be caused by simply touching a contaminated package.
Since drug smugglers have been getting more creative, officers had to evolve their methods of searching and seizing packages.
Peter said one example that stuck out for her was a package that was labeled as a cross-stitched item, but it weighed too much to be just that.
“Well, you open up the package and it’s not a cross-stitch item. We had a seizure here not long ago and the items were declared as that and the items contained oxycodone pills,” Peters said.
As more people attempt to conceal drugs and weapons in their packages, the CBSA said they will continue to adapt.