Shipment insurance

Shipment labeled ‘decoration’ consisted of opium poppy pods: Federal government


The shipment was discovered in Maryland.

Customs and border protection

A 13-pound shipment of poppy hulls was seized in Maryland after border agents discovered the seeds, which contain natural opiates, were being illegally sent into the country.

Baltimore officials opened an express shipment on Feb. 23 labeled “decoration” from the United Kingdom, Customs and Border Protection said in a news release.

Officers discovered the pods inside brown paper bags and tested seed samples. The seeds tested positive for morphine and codeine, which are opiates commonly found in poppy seeds, according to the release.

Although the opium in poppy seeds is naturally occurring, only those with licenses can import opium poppies from “legitimate sources in regulated countries”, Border Protection said.

“Consumers are prohibited from importing opium poppy pods and opium straw, which is the poppy plant minus the seeds,” the statement read. “…and the cultivation of the opium poppy in the United States is illegal.”

Officers confiscated the poppies for destruction, the statement said.

“Communities across the United States continue to battle the opioid epidemic, and so Customs and Border Protection officers remain committed to intercepting shipments of opioid products, including in their raw form, every time we encounter them,” said CBP acting area port Marc Calixte. director in Baltimore, in the press release.

Mariah Rush is a national real-time reporter. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame and previously worked for the Chicago Tribune, the Tampa Bay Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer.