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  4. Philadelphia CBP Discovers ‘Green’ Cocaine in Shipment from Colombia

Philadelphia CBP Discovers ‘Green’ Cocaine in Shipment from Colombia

Release Date
Fri, 10/30/2020

PHILADELPHIA – Scientific analysis is an invaluable enforcement tool as evidenced by a recent Customs and Border Protection seizure of more than 12 pounds of “green” cocaine in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Customs and Border Protection officers seized about 12 pounds of powdery “green” cocaine on October 21, 2020, after CBP scientists analyzed and verified that the substance contained cocaine alkaloids.
CBP scientists analyzed and confirmed the powdery
green substance as containing cocaine alkaloids.

On October 21, CBP officers seized 5.5 kilograms, or a little more than 12 pounds of green cocaine after CBP’s Laboratories and Scientific Services labs in Savannah, Ga., and Newark, N.J., completed chemical analysis.

The parcel initially arrived on August 6 from Colombia, destined to an address in Philadelphia. CBP officers examined the contents and discovered nine plastic jars that contained a green powdery substance and nine plastic jars that contained a brown tar-like substance. Officers detained the jars and submitted samples of each substance to CBP’s laboratories in Savannah and Newark. On October 20, both labs confirmed that the green powdery substance tested positive for the presence of cocaine alkaloids, and that that the brown tar-like substance tested positive for nicotine.

Cocaine is produced from green coca plant leaves. Through a chemical process using gasoline, ammonia and other chemicals, the green color is processed into the common white-colored substance. CBP officers periodically encounter coca leaves in plant form while inspecting travelers’ baggage and in air-shipped parcels, but rarely encounter the green powdery substance. Both of these forms of coca retain cocaine alkaloids and are regulated by the Controlled Substances Act.

“This seizure perfectly illustrates how Customs and Border Protection officers use keen instinct and professional scientific analysis to intercept dangerous drugs being smuggled into our communities,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “CBP remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting our nation and our citizens by intercepting dangerous drugs at our nation’s borders through our aggressive narcotics interdiction effort.”

CBP seized an average of 3,707 pounds of dangerous drugs every day across the United States last year. Learn more about what CBP accomplished during “A Typical Day” in 2019.

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.

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

Last Modified: Feb 20, 2024