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Contraband Freight


Inspection at the border (or anywhere, for that matter) of the truck carrying your freight has revealed the presence of illegal drugs, or other contraband such as guns.

The problem is, no one except the authorities knows this, and no one knows the whereabouts of the truck, or of the driver. All that is known is that the driver has gone incommunicado, and all of the electronic devices that could be used to locate the truck, including satellite and cell phone equipment, have gone silent.


  1. You are calling us, and we are calling the carrier, and the carrier is calling the driver, and no one has heard from the driver. But you know that your freight is late. And we can’t tell you where it is.
  2. After several days, it will become known that contraband was found on the truck, the driver, the truck and the freight has been seized, and that law enforcement will be contacting the appropriate people at the appropriate time.
  3. If you are able, Copper Run recommends that you organize a replacement shipment for the one that has been seized. Whether you will get the seized shipment back, when you will get it back if you do, and whether you will want it if and when you do get it are all open questions at this time.
  4. We will help you prepare, as is our standard practice and only if you so wish, a notice of claim to file with the carrier (Copper Run recommends that you do so) to protect yourself and to preserve your options in the event you are in the position in the future to make a claim for losses incurred.


The temptation to earn attractive cash amounts for being a ‘mule’ – smuggling contraband across the border – has bedeviled folks from all walks of life for decades. It is especially tempting for some tourists who have an obviously legitimate reason for travelling, and for truck drivers, who regularly cross borders multiple times a week for years on end, and may even be known to some of the Customs and Immigration officials.

But the possibility of being caught is ever-present, and the penalties are exceedingly severe. Depending on the details, the driver may be incarcerated for decades.

For those who are impacted peripherally, the impact of an apprehension can be a huge inconvenience, and not without cost. If the contraband was in the tractor and investigation determines that the neither the freight, and nor anyone connected with the freight, was involved in the smuggling, then the freight will usually be released at the conclusion of the investigation. The trailer will be auctioned off, as will the tractor once the legal case has been concluded

We will then be given a short time window to bring in a new truck to trans-load and retrieve the freight from a government compound, and we will be asking you what you want done with the freight. If you wish to make an insurance claim, you will have to accept and retain the freight in a place where it’s condition can be inspected, and you will have to be prepared to make it available for salvage.


The notable impact will be the delay in delivering a shipment of product to the receiver, regardless of whether the first shipment received is the original shipment or a replacement shipment. This delay will be at least a week, and could stretch into more than a month.

If the product is not usable, then there will probably be an insurance claim, which will come with its own extended processing timeline.

Copper Run will not charge you for any fees associated with any transportation or delays that happened prior to the seizure at the border, nor for any delays or other charges related to the time the freight was under seizure. However, in the event the freight is released after seizure, we will, if you wish, arrange for its transportation it to its final destination, and we will charge you for same. In the event you judge the freight to be unusable, this latter transportation charge will become part of your claim.