Contraband Detection – Why Is It So Important?

You may wonder why contraband detection is so important.  What many people do not realize is that terrorism, whether on an international, national or local level, and other crimes may be funded or supported through contraband that has been smuggled. If law enforcement is able to stop drugs, weapons and cash from being smuggled through effective contraband detection, less of it will reach people intent on using them to harm others. In the end, by taking contraband out of circulation, entire communities are made safer.

The perception is that all illegal goods are smuggled through the borders and ports into the country. While this may be true to a certain extent, there is probably more contraband moving between states than is realized. Campbell/Harris Security Equipment Company (CSECO) has made it their top priority to ‘eliminate the distribution of illegal drugs that continue to ravage our communities’ and to reduce the potential for loss of life because of illegal weapons, explosives or dirty bombs being transported around the United States. To help meet this goal, CSECO has been manufacturing contraband detection equipment since 1984.

What exactly is ‘contraband’?

Dictionaries will provide one or more of these definitions:

  • Any item which is prohibited by law from being imported or exported;
  • Any item which is imported or exported illegally;
  • Illegal or prohibited trade; smuggling.

Other definitions may include items which cannot be possessed or goods which illegal to possess as in the case of stolen goods. Since any contraband is transported illegally through smuggling, it must be done by stealth by hiding the items so they are not easily recognized and seized. By employing contraband detection equipment, like the Buster contraband detector, US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents as well as federal, state and local law enforcement are able to detect contraband and confiscate it thereby removing the risk of these items falling into the wrong hands.

Some examples of contraband may include, but not be limited to:

  • Illegal currency that may be counterfeit, stolen or gained through illegal activity
  • Illegal narcotics like cocaine, meth, heroin, and others
  • Illegal weapons or nuclear materials that may be stolen or purchased on the black market
  • Human beings who may be here illegally/undocumented or may have been kidnapped and part of the sex trade

As you can tell, once you know what contraband is and examples of it, you can better understand why it is so important to be able to detect it and remove it as a potential threat.

Technology Used in Contraband Detection

Contraband detection equipment designed, developed and manufactured by CSECO includes:

  • The Buster K910 Density Meter. The signature piece of contraband detection equipment was designed by CSECO founder Pat Campbell with direct input from US Customs and Border Patrol agents. Campbell wanted to work closely with these agents because, as the end-user of the Buster, they would be able to explain valuable real-world instances where improvements could be made in the then-available contraband detectors. Now, in almost 30 years, the Buster contraband detector is considered by law enforcement to be the ‘gold standard’ in contraband detectors.
  • The FO Series Articulated Fiberscope. Since contraband can be hidden in some of the most inaccessible areas of a vehicle, it is vital to be able to see inside doors, behind air conditioning vents and down into the depths of a fuel tank. The Fiberscope can do all of these and more. With the optional video camera, law enforcement can see and share what they are viewing with others as well as document their inspection with a recording.
  • The CT-30 Contraband Detection Team Kit. This kit includes both the Buster contraband detector and the FO Series Fiberscope as well as an assortment of inspection probes in the PN-Series Inspection Probe Kit, Leica Laser Range Meter® to find false walls and hidden compartments, the PM-10 Extension Inspection Mirror with High Intensity Flashlight, available in a shock resistant carrying case with wheels.

As you can tell, contraband detection is something CSECO as well as their many customers (CBP, US State Department, Department of Homeland Security, DEA, state and local police departments and others) take seriously. If you would like to learn more about contraband detection, contact CSECO at 510-864-8010 or by emailing info@cseco.com.

Quick Links


Tony Harris, President and CEO, and Pat Campbell, founder, of CSECO explain about the Buster density meter and other contraband detectors.

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