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CBP Finds Cocaine Valued at $135K in Foods

Release Date: 
September 24, 2015

Vinegar, refried beans, olive oil among sundry items concealing narcotics

HOUSTON – U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at George Bush Intercontinental Airport intercepted an international traveler carrying more than 10 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $135,000, Sept. 21.

CBP officers sent this vinegar bottle to CBP scientists who found the substance inside contained cocaine.  The passenger was arrested with 10 pounds of cocaine concealed in food and sundry items.

CBP officers sent this bottle of vinegar, which found in a passenger's baggage, to CBP scientist who found the bottle contained cocaine. Ten pounds of cocaine was subsequently found concealed in food and sundry items.

The international traveler, Ebberson Rolando Maldonado Trejo, 36, arrived to Houston from Guatemala and was enroute to New Jersey.

During an examination of Trejo’s baggage, CBP officers found bottles marked as vinegar, olive oil, face wash and three packages of refried beans.  Upon closer examination of the items, CBP officers determined a scientific analysis of the items was warranted and turned over a sample of the items to CBP’s Southwest Regional Science Center, here. Within minutes, CBP scientists noted the substance inside the bottles and packages tested positive for cocaine.

“Our officers remain vigilant in disrupting criminal activity despite the concealment methods traffickers employ,” said Houston CBP Port Director Charles Perez.  “We take every opportunity to apply our training, experience and leverage scientific advances to protect America’s frontline.” 

CBP officers arrested Trejo, a Guatemalan citizen, and turned him over to Houston Police Department.

On a typical day in 2014, CBP officers around the country seized 10,327 pounds of drugs.  Additional seizure information and statistics are available here.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017