Heroin found in purses and baby wipes at Anchorage airport

Reuters News
Posted: May 23, 2011 7:03 PM

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Inspectors examining packages at Anchorage's international airport discovered large quantities of heroin cached in shipments of purses, baby wipes and picture frames, an official said Monday.

A total of 6 pounds of heroin with an estimated street value of $1.2 million was found over the past month in packages shipped to a FedEx facility at the airport, said Jerry McGee, Customs and Border Protection chief in Anchorage.

The three shipments appear unrelated but were notable for their large size, McGee said.

"We get narcotics seizures on a regular basis. However, this was substantial, a fairly large quantity," he said.

The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is one of the world's busiest air-cargo handlers, serving as a hub between North America, Asia and Europe.

The heroin discovered over the past month was destined for the United States, he said. Investigations into the shipments are ongoing, he said.

The first shipment was discovered on April 22, concealed in a package of ladies' purses from Malaysia that seemed abnormally heavy, according to customs officials. Closer scrutiny revealed 423 grams of heroin sewn into the purse liners, officials said.

The second seizure took place four days later, when officers found 1.7 kilograms of heroin taped inside packages of commercial baby wipes, officials said. The third seizure occurred on May 10, when officers found over 830 grams of heroin hidden inside picture frames in a shipment that originated from Thailand, officials said.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Greg McCune)