Philly CBP Bags Record 130 Pounds of Cocaine
PHILADEPHIA—In what authorities believe to be the largest Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cocaine seizure recorded at Philadelphia International Airport, CBP officers discovered about 130 pounds of the white, powdery narcotic bundled in three unattended duffel bags Sunday.
The cocaine has an approximate street value of about $4 million.
According to CBP records dating back to 1990, the earliest that details could be queried, this is the largest cocaine seizure the agency has recorded at the airport. It surpasses the previous largest documented seizure of 55 pounds on Aug. 5, 2000.
It is also the 10th largest seizure recorded in the area port of Philadelphia, which also includes sea ports of entry. The largest documented seizure, 6,427 pounds of cocaine, occurred on June 21, 1996, by the legacy U.S. Customs Service.
"This is by far the largest amount of cocaine that any of us can remember seizing in the airport environment in Philadelphia," said Allan Martocci, CBP port director for the area port of Philadelphia. "The volume alone raises concern for us. Customs and Border Protection officers remain steadfastly vigilant to stop narcotics here at our border before it can hurt our families and our communities. Any day that we can remove 130 pounds of cocaine from circulation is a good day."
Officers made no arrests. An investigation continues.
CBP officers collected the three unattended bags, which arrived on a flight from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, after passengers departed the international inspection station. A CBP narcotics detector dog then sniffed the bags and alerted to the possible presence of narcotics.
Officers unpacked the bags' contents and discovered a total of 52 bricks wrapped inside blankets -- two bags contained 18 bricks each; the third contained 16 bricks. The bricks, which weighed a combined 59.2 kilograms, or 130 pounds, 8 ounces, field-tested positive for the presence of cocaine.
CBP routinely conducts random inspection operations on arriving and departing international passengers and intercepts narcotics, currency, weapons and other prohibited or illicit products.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.