Philadelphia US CBP Officers Discover Nearly $400k Cocaine Load on a Flight from Jamaica

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized over 12 pounds of cocaine on a flight from Jamaica on Thursday at Philadelphia International Airport.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 12 pounds of cocaine, with a street value of about $400,000, on a flight that arrived from Montego Bay, Jamaica on May 4, 2023, at Philadelphia International Airport.
Officers discovered the cocaine concealed behind a cargo hold blowout panel.

CBP officers routinely examine aircraft spaces after flights arrive from overseas locations. During a search of the Montego Bay flight, officers discovered a draw-string bag adorned with the face of reggae legend Bob Marley concealed behind a cargo hold blowout panel. From that bag, officers extracted five bricks of a white, powdery substance. Officers tested the substance with a handheld elemental isotope analysis tool and identified it as cocaine hydrochloride.

The cocaine weighed 5.56 kilograms, or 12 pounds, four ounces, and has a street value of about $400,000.

No arrests have been made. The cocaine was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia, for further criminal investigation by the Border Enforcement Security Task Force that operates at the Philadelphia International Airport.

“Customs and Border Protection officers conduct aircraft hold inspections of international flights every day, so this cocaine seizure is both rewarding and concerning for us,” said Rene Ortega, Acting Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Philadelphia. “It validates that transnational criminal organizations may be focusing on importing narcotics through Philadelphia again, and it is further proof that our continued diligence is essential and necessary to help protect our communities.”