Philadelphia Customs and Border Protection Bags Largest Cocaine Load in 10 Years – And It Came From the Caribbean

Philadelphia CBP seized 709 pounds of cocaine that was concealed in furniture shipped from Puerto Rico.


PHILADELPHIA, United States, Wednesday January 10, 2018 — US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers from the Area Port of Philadelphia recently seized the largest local cocaine load in 10 years when they discovered 709 pounds concealed inside cabinets that was shipped from Puerto Rico.

The cocaine weighed 321.64 kilogrammes, or a little more than 709 pounds, and had a street value of about US$22 million.  This is CBP’s sixth largest cocaine seizure, and 10th largest seizure of any illicit drug in the Port of Philadelphia.

While examining shipping containers at a seaport in Pennsauken, New Jersey, CBP officers detected an anomaly in one and transported that container to CBP’s Centralized Examination Station in Philadelphia.

Officers emptied the contents of the container, and after thorough inspection, discovered false walls in numerous pieces of furniture bedroom and kitchen cabinets.  The false compartments concealed 256 bricks of a white powdery substance that field tested positive for cocaine.

Additionally, CBP officers discovered a nearly 30-pound cocaine load at the same seaport inside a wooden chest.  That load, 13.56 kilogrammes with an estimated street value of about US$900,000, was shipped from Puerto Rico and destined for an address in Cinnaminson, New Jersey.

“Customs and Border Protection knows that transnational drug trafficking organizations will take advantage of natural disasters, and in this case an island struggling to recovering from a crippling hurricane, to smuggle dangerous drugs to our nation’s mainland,” said Joseph Martella, CBP Acting Area Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia.

“CBP officers remain ever vigilant to interdict narcotics loads, and we are pleased to have stopped this deadly poison shipment before it could hurt our communities.”

This is CBP’s largest cocaine seizure in Philadelphia since officers intercepted 864 pounds of cocaine concealed in a shipping container from the Dominican Republic March 8, 2007.

“This seizure is an excellent example of how Customs and Border Protection officers leverage imaging technology to detect and intercept an immense amount of cocaine cleverly concealed in a shipment of furniture,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore, the agency’s operational commander in the mid-Atlantic region.

“Narcotics interdiction remains an enforcement priority for Customs and Border Protection, and a mission that we take very serious.”

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