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$1.25 Million in Stolen Copper Seized at Ports

Large shipment of 6 containers bound for Hong Kong had been stolen from an Arizona mining firm, which flagged the missing copper, Customs and Border Protection announced.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 359 stolen copper ingots with an estimated value of $1.25 million a day before they were due to be shipped to Hong Kong from the Los Angeles-Long Beach seaport, it was announced Tuesday.

The investigation began on Oct. 2 and continued through Nov. 6. Three containers were seized just one day before their scheduled departure; three more containers had already departed but were ordered to return to the shipping basin, according to CBP's Lee Harty. The contraband was coming from a mining facility in Hayden, Arizona, where authorities became aware of a problem on Sept. 27, according to CBP officials.

``U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport not only prevent the importation of dangerous products into the country, but also have an important role in stopping stolen cargo from being exported out of the port,'' said Todd C. Owen, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. "These seizures demonstrate the effectiveness of CBP's cargo security activities, and of the strong partnership with local, state and federal law enforcement partners,'' he said.

--City News Service

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