780 Intel CPUs Seized In $137,000 Smuggling Operation Bust

While some buy the best CPUs, others try to smuggle them. Chinese customs authorities seized 780 Intel processors that traffickers were trying to slip through the Gongbei Port connecting Macau and Zhuhai in China.

Chinese smugglers are always finding ways to finesse the customs authorities. Recent smuggling busts have shown that walking with hundreds of processors or M.2 SSDs strapped to your body may not be the most clever way to get through customs. Hiding contraband hardware inside scooters or in a car’s undercarriage is a no-go. 

In the latest PC hardware smuggling bust, we have a few individuals who hid 780 Intel processors inside the engine of a cross-border bus. Walking past metal detectors with pounds of metal on your body isn’t a good idea. Even a fake silicone belly can’t conceal processors from metal detectors. However, hiding metal inside other metal can prove fruitful, assuming you’re lucky and don’t get pulled over for a manual inspection.

The customs officers from the Gongbei Port noticed something fishy about the cross-border vehicle from digital imagery. Upon closer inspection of the engine, they discovered a nifty modification to conceal smuggled goods, which in this case were 780 Intel-branded processors. Customs 

The initial estimate of the smuggle bust is over one million yuan, equivalent to $137,341. Unfortunately, we can’t get a perfect view of the confiscated chips, but they appear to be from the 12th Generation Alder Lake or 13th Generation Raptor Lake series.

There’s a big grey market in China for computer hardware. Processors, graphics cards, and SSDs are the most popular components among buyers. You can get bargain prices on hardware that typically costs much more in a retail store. It’s a gamble, though, since you don’t receive the manufacturer’s warranty. So while it looks like you’ve saved money when you bought it, it’ll cost you more to replace the hardware in the future if it unexpectedly craps out on you.