What do 2,000 rounds of shotgun shells look like? Customs shows what was found on plane

·2 min read
Vernon T. Foret

More than 2,000 rounds of shotgun ammunition bound for the Caribbean through Fort Lauderdale were found this week by U.S. Customs.

The ammo, found on Wednesday, was in a private aircraft at a Fort Lauderdale airport, Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Rachel Torres said. The plane’s intended destination was Nassau.

The discovery wasn’t the result of an investigation, Torres said. The 22 boxes of ammo were uncovered during a regular patrol.

CBP has handed over the case to Homeland Security Investigations, spokesperson Nestor Yglesias said. HSI can’t release information about the bust because it is an active case. Yglesias said he couldn’t confirm that the plane was headed to the Bahamas but mentioned that agents are looking into people who may be responsible.

It’s unknown why the ammo was being shipped to the Caribbean, if it was to be distributed in the Bahamas or other islands or if an arrest was made.

CBP has ramped up efforts to crack down on the smuggling of weapons, weapon parts and ammunition from South Florida, where seizures at ports have spiked, to Caribbean islands, such as Haiti, Torres said. This week at a briefing, officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the Department of Commerce said that the agencies are committed to stopping contraband from reaching drug cartels, terrorists and criminal organizations abroad.

However, experts say stopping the flow of weapons and ammunition is nearly impossible due to lax gun laws in the U.S. and demand in the Caribbean for the drug trade, smuggling networks and the black market.

Although Florida law bars anyone who can’t own a firearm from purchasing ammunition, licensed vendors aren’t required to run background checks on buyers. Transactions can’t be traced because buyers don’t have to fill out a federal form declaring they’re purchasing the ammunition.

READ MORE: How U.S. gun laws and South Florida ports help fuel Haiti’s escalating gang violence