250 Bricks Of Cocaine Valued At $22 Million Found At Port Of Philadelphia
Philadelphia federal customs officials reported last week that they recently found 250 bricks of cocaine (over 700 pounds or 321.64 kilograms) stashed away inside bedroom furniture and kitchen cabinets shipped in from Puerto Rico.
The drugs, which were confiscated in November, had an estimated value of around $22 million and resulted in the area’s biggest illegal drug bust since Philly officers seized 864 pounds of cocaine hidden in a shipping container sent from the Dominican Republic in 2007.
During the bust, officers from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from the Port of Philadelphia area discovered the cocaine concealed in compartments inside the furniture. This was CBP’s 6th largest seizure of cocaine and 10th largest seizure of any illegal drug in the Port of Philadelphia.
The furniture was searched when officers identified something unusual about a shipping container, which then they transported to the Centralized Examination Station in Philadelphia. After emptying the contents of the container and inspecting it, they found false walls in “numerous pieces” of bedroom furniture and kitchen cabinets.
In addition, officers uncovered another load of cocaine, weighing nearly 30 pounds (13.45 kilograms), hidden inside a chest at the same seaport later in November. That load had an estimated street value of around $900,000 and was also shipped Puerto Rico and headed for New Jersey.
Joseph Martella, CBP, said the following in a statement:
“Customs and Border Protection knows that transnational drug trafficking organizations will take advantage of natural disasters …to smuggle dangerous drugs to our nation’s mainland.”
He also noted that CBP is “pleased to have stopped this deadly poison shipment before it could hurt our communities.”
The seizure led to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Newark’s Office, in Cherry Hill, N.J. initiating an investigation that is still ongoing.
According to the website, CBP conducts routine and random inspections on international cargo and passengers and searches for narcotics, weapons, and other illicit items.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology