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8 July 2021: Belgium, Romania, Spain, Italy

U.S. corporations are being targeted by smugglers and the problem has become insidious, reports say with smuggling operations becoming evident on Romania’s border in March, when a truck from Turkey carrying nine tons of dangerous contraband was stopped. Spanish police and customs officials raided a warehouse near Granada, impounding 19 tons of illicit substances there. Last August, authorities in the Italian port of Livorno captured an illegal 3.7-ton shipment from China. The contraband was not drugs but industrial refrigerants. These chemicals are in demand since they are restricted for use in the European union. The price difference between new EU-approved refrigerants and cheaper, older formulas has fueled a black market and drawn smugglers.

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17 June 2021: Tulare County, California

During the month of June, a routine audit by the Touchstone Pistachio Company revealed that approximately 42,000 pounds of pistachios were missing. On June 17, the TCSO Ag Crimes Unit were contacted and requested to investigate the theft. Investigative leads in Fresno and Kern County discovered the tractor trailer containing the pistachios had been moved from the Montemayor Trucking lot in Delano to a nearby lot. Detectives found that the pistachios were being moved from 2000-pound sacks into smaller bags for re-sale.The remaining pistachios were returned to the Touchstone Pistachio Company.34-year-old Alberto Montemayor of Montemayor trucking was arrested and booked in Tulare County.

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16 June 2021: Van Horn, Texas

More than 30 people trying to illegally come into the United States were discovered locked inside a U-Haul truck in southern Texas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the group jammed into the rental truck without ventilation. A dozen of the people needed to be hospitalized due to heat related illness.

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22 June 2021: Ontario, Canada

The Toronto Police Service announced the takedown of a major international drug-smuggling ring, which saw more than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine, crystal meth, and marijuana being transported between Mexico, California, and Canada using modified tractor trailers. Dubbed Project Brisa, the six-month investigation led officers to work in partnership with Canadian and American law enforcement agencies as well as agencies throughout southwestern Ontario and across Canada. It is alleged that between November 2020 and May 2021, investigators identified those responsible for transporting the illicit substances across borders for sale in Canada. It is further alleged this was made possible by the installation of hydraulic traps in tractor-trailers, capable of smuggling 100 kilograms of substance in a single trip. Twenty people were arrested.

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7 April: Dublin, Ireland

A bus was set on fire on Lanark Way in Dublin near the junction with Shankill Road, according to local police and news reports. Photos from the event showed people on both sides of a gate throwing items across. Some of those items included petrol bombs. Protests and unrest amid rising Brexit concerns are being blamed. Union anger about police not prosecuting leaders of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein for allegedly breaking pandemic restrictions during the funeral of a former IRA figure were also cited.

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7 April: Pomona, California

A police chase that lasted more than an hour and reportedly reached speeds of 75 miles per hour ended with a murder suspect crashing into a tractor trailer. The suspect was apprehended at that point surrendering to police. Video from helicopters showed the suspect driving on the wrong side of the road and weaving through a parking lot as part of police chase. Michael Caleb Reed from Bakersfield, Calif. was wanted for shooting and killing Michael Lewis. The truck driver who blocked the suspect exited his truck cab and calmly walked away. He is being hailed as a crucial part of the capture of the murder suspect.

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6 April: Interstate 80/94, Indiana

Two semitrailers collided one into the rear of the other when the first slowed for traffic on a busy stretch of Interstate 80/94 in Indiana. Eastbound Interstate 94 was closed for 12 hours as a result of the crash which happened at 1:30am. The truck was carrying paint and diesel fuel which was then spilled over the Interstate.

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5 April: Dallas, Texas

Felix Lopez was charged with second-degree felony of theft of property after he allegedly stole an ambulance and proceeded to lead law enforcement on a several-hour-long chase through Dallas, Texas. The ambulance was taken from a fire station and later spotted after which the chase ensued, finally ending when Lopez became trapped by fencing, exited the vehicle and tried to run. He finally surrendered.

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2 April: Washington, DC

One U.S. Capitol Police officer was killed and another injured when a man identified as 25-year-old Noah R. Green, of Indiana, rammed a vehicle into them at a barricade outside the Capitol building in Washington, DC. Officer William “Billy” Evans was the officer killed. He had been with the police force for 18-years. Green, an African American man, was not on any watch lists and appeared to have acted alone, sources say. Social media posts by Green suggest anti-government sentiments played a role in his actions. Other experts say mental health issues were at play as well. For more on vehicle ramming incidents see our feature story on page 48.

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31 March: California/Mexico Border

A human smuggler was charged with organizing a smuggling event in early March 2021 that ultimately ended with 13 people losing their lives. Jose Cruz Noguez was charged “with conspiracy to bring aliens to the United States outside a port of entry causing serious bodily injury/placing a life in jeopardy, and bringing in aliens without presentation for financial gain.” An SUV Cruz, a legal US resident, was driving allegedly carry 25 migrants hit a tractor-trailer near the California/Mexico border. Twelve people died on scene, one person died en route to the hospital and some survivors suffered “serious injuries,” according to prosecutors.