Customs officers intercepted four separate shipments of cocaine with a total street value of $70,000 hidden inside insulated thermal cups, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement.
The shipments from Jamaica were discovered at processing centers in Cincinnati, New York and Philadelphia, the CBP said. Each shipment contained four souvenir insulated thermal cups packed with tea bags, bagged spices or vaporizing ointment in addition to 250 to 260 grams of cocaine. The cocaine was hidden within the insulating layer of each cup, the CBP said.
The scheme was first discovered on March 10, when CBP officers in Philadelphia noticed that the cups they were inspecting were “unusually heavy.” When they drilled into the wall of a cup, they discovered a white powder that tested positive for cocaine.
Customs officers then identified three similar shipments from Jamaica that were in transit and being processed at centers in Cincinnati, New York and Philadelphia, and tipped off officers there. All were found to contain cocaine.
“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,” Joseph Martella, CBP’s area port director in Philadelphia, said in the agency’s April 26 news release.