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As Marijuana Harvest Season Approaches, Warehouses and Distribution Centers Must Keep an Eye Out for Shipments of Illicit Drugs

A Michigan distribution center receives an unexpected delivery and trains workers in how to recognize suspicious packages.

(Boonton, NJ, September 17, 2010) — It was a scene seemingly ripped from the pages of a paperback novel. At 5:30 one morning, a worker at the Mopar Parts Distribution Center in Center Line, MI, opened a box of windshield wiper blades and found two 10-pound blocks of marijuana.

The scenario is an all-too common one for warehouses that handle product shipped from Mexico.

And it didn't surprise J.J. Coughlin, a former police officer and current director of law enforcement services at LoJack Supply Chain Integrity.

In the September issue of industry newsletter Distribution Center Management, Coughlin tells readers that Mexican drug runners often intercept cargo trucks on the Mexican side of the border and hide contraband in the freight on board.

Considering the violence that accompanies the drug trade, Coughlin advises readers to quickly turn over to the authorities any drugs that are found. He also advises training employees to spot suspicious packages.

One of the clues:

Packaging that's just too tidy. Impenetrable packaging or an aroma of dryer sheets are telltale signs. "Drug shipments are always the best packages you'll ever see, because the drug dealers don't want anybody to see it or smell it," Coughlin says.


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For more than 40 years, Distribution Group publications have helped distribution center and warehouse managers increase productivity, cut costs, and meet increasing customer demands. Distribution Group publishes Distribution Center Management newsletter, books and reports, and a free e-newsletter.

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