Arizona DPS seizes over $1 million in stolen raw copper | News
MARANA, AZ (Tucson News Now)- After several months of investigation, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) finds and seizes over $1 million worth of copper allegedly heading for China.
September started the investigation for Arizona DPS, as copper thefts were reported at ASARCO Mining Corporation in Hayden, Arizona. After a traffic stop conducted on I-10 near MP200, a commercial truck was found with 49 copper ingots inside, with each ingot weighing 880 pounds.
Information obtained during the traffic stop led to a search a residence in Marana. According to DPS officials a search of the W. Tangerine Road home turned up another 56 copper ingots, as well as the seizure of three truck tractors, three semi-trailers, one fork lift and two hand carts. Authorities say the 56 ingots were worth over $300,000.
According to Arizona DPS after the Marana seizure there was enough evidence to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials to investigate the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport; where six containers were searched and a further 359 copper ingots were discovered, according to Arizona DPS, worth over $1.25 million.
The six containers were searched from October 2 to November 6, with U.S. Customs officials stopping three containers the day before they were scheduled to leave, according to officials, and ordering three containers to return to port.
Arizona DPS officials provided blueprints, pictures and details of the copper ingots, including dimensions, weight, and mineral composition, as well as the belief that these copper ingots would be smuggled out of the U.S.
CBP officials stated they identified three containers that were destined for Hong Kong, and scheduled to depart the next day. When searched these containers held 59 and 60 ingots each, with a Shipper's Export Declaration listing the cargo as ‘metal scrap' (copper alloy waste and scrap), according to CBP officials, each was from the same exporter.
Three more containers were ordered by CBP to return to port, according to CBP, each with a manifest of ‘metal scrap' and allegedly destined for China. In the first ship to return were two containers, with a total of 120 copper ingots, and another 60 were found on the last container.
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