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CBP Officers in Philadelphia, New York and Cincinnati Collaborate to Capture Cocaine Concealed in Cooler Cups

Release Date: 
April 26, 2022

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is able to announce today that officers interrupted a cool trend in cocaine concealment last month after stopping four shipments from Jamaica of cocaine secreted inside the insulated walls of thermos cups.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Cincinnati, Ohio, in New York City, and in Philadelphia intercepted four shipments of cocaine from Jamaica that similarly concealed the cocaine inside the insulated walls of four thermos cups. The combined seizures weighed more than 2.5 pounds and had a street value of about $70,000.
CBP officers found the cocaine concealed
inside the insulated liner of these thermos
cups shipped from Jamaica.

Each shipment consisted of four souvenir insulated thermos cups that were packed with tea bags, bagged spices or vaporizing ointment. Each shipment contained approximately 250-260 grams of cocaine for a total weight of more than one kilogram, or more than 2.5 pounds. The cocaine had an approximate street value of about $70,000.

An investigation continues.

On March 10, Philadelphia CBP officers inspected the first shipment of four thermos insulated cups from Montego Bay. Officers found that each insulated cup was filled with tea bags or spice bags and were unusually heavy. Officers drilled into the side wall of each cup and discovered a white powdery substance that field-tested positive for cocaine. This shipment was destined to an address in Philadelphia.

CBP officers then learned that three similar shipments from Jamaica were in transit through express consignment processing centers in Cincinnati, New York and again in Philadelphia, and flagged each shipment for officers in those locations.

On March 11, Cincinnati CBP officers intercepted the second shipment of cocaine similarly concealed inside the insulated walls of four thermos cups that were destined to a different address in Philadelphia.

On March 15, CBP officers and narcotics detector dog Kincsem intercepted the third cocaine shipment in the Bronx. That parcel was destined to an address in the Bronx.

On March 16, Philadelphia CBP officers seized the last shipment of cocaine destined to an address in Stamford, Conn.

Also on March 15, Philadelphia CBP officers discovered 18 pounds of cocaine inside the cargo hold of a passenger flight that also arrived from Montego Bay.

“These cocaine seizures perfectly illustrate how Customs and Border Protection officers across the country routinely collaborate to intercept shipments of dangerous drugs and force traffickers to work hard to change concealment tactics and supply routes,” said Joseph Martella, CBP’s Area Port Director in Philadelphia. “Our communities expect us to stand a vigilant watch along our nation’s borders against the repeated smuggling attempts by drug trafficking organizations, and CBP vows to do just that.”

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.

CBP seized an average of 4,732 pounds of dangerous drugs every day last year along our nation’s borders. Learn more about what CBP accomplished during "A Typical Day" in 2021.

Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.

Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos, and CBP’s Office of Field Operations on Instagram at @cbpfieldops.

Last modified: 
April 26, 2022