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Customs finds surprising cargo in Chinese shipment

The 860 boxes with Christmas ornament labels turn out to contain 316,000 bongs and other drug pipes. No arrests have been made and an investigation is pending.

November 20, 2009|By Baxter Holmes

Talk about holiday cheer.

Hundreds of boxes that were shipped from China and labeled as Christmas ornaments were seized by suspicious customs officials at Los Angeles Harbor recently. Inside the boxes were 316,000 glass bongs and other drug pipes.

"They're very colorful and big," said Cristina Gamez, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "Some of them are like 2 feet tall."

Gamez said the bongs and pipes, which were found in nearly 860 boxes of cargo, are worth about $2.6 million.

The package arrived a month ago but was seized Tuesday at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex.

The manifest listed the cargo as Christmas ornaments.

No arrests have been made, Gamez said, and an investigation is pending.

All the items will be destroyed, Gamez said. She said that it was illegal to import, export or sell drug paraphernalia in the United States.

baxter.holmes@latimes.com

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