Customs officers last month seized $70,000 worth of cocaine that was hidden in souvenir thermos cups and sent to three United States cities, authorities announced.
The four separate shipments from Jamaica were found at processing centers in Cincinnati, New York and Philadelphia, according to Customs and Border Patrol. Each shipment contained four insulated souvenir thermal cups that contained tea bags, spices or vaporizing ointment — along with 250 to 260 grams of cocaine.
The cocaine was concealed inside the insulating layer of the cups, the CBP said.
“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.”
The operation was first discovered March 10, when customs officers in Philadelphia observed that the cups they were inspecting were “unusually heavy.”
“Officers drilled into the side wall of each cup and discovered a white powdery substance that field-tested positive for cocaine,” according to the Tuesday CBP press release.
CBP officers subsequently discovered that three similar shipments sent from Jamaica were being delivered to processing centers in Cincinnati, New York and Philadelphia, and “flagged each shipment for officers in those locations.”
On March 11, CBP workers made the second seizure in Cincinnati. Five days later, CBP officers and a narcotics detector dog intercepted the third cocaine shipment in the Bronx.
And on March 16, CBP officers in Philadelphia seized the last shipment of cocaine that was being sent to an address in Stamford, Connecticut.