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Philadelphia US CBP Takes the Cake for Illicit Pill Interceptions

Just one day after intercepting 11 liters of liquid ecstasy concealed inside chicken soup cans, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Philadelphia found another parcel of illicit stuff that just takes the cake.

On Thursday, CBP officers found 10,000 tablets of Tramadol, a Schedule IV controlled substance, that was quite literally concealed inside cakes.

The parcel arrived from London, U.K., and was destined to an address in Charleston, West Virginia. The shipment was manifested as “garments,” and the box did contain garments, but an x-ray examination also revealed the presence of what appeared to be packaged pharmaceuticals.

CBP officers opened the box and extracted two packaged food containers labeled as sweets from India. Instead of candies, officers discovered two sticky cakes that concealed aluminum foil pouches that contained 1,000 combined blister packs of Tramadol 100 mg pills.

According to the DEA, Tramadol hydrochloride is a synthetic morphine-like opioid and a Schedule IV drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Tramadol is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain in patients. Tramadol is most often abused by narcotics addicts, chronic pain patients, and health professionals.

“Intercepting unprescribed pharmaceuticals being smuggled to the United States remains a serious public health concern and a Customs and Border Protection enforcement priority,” said Joseph Martella, CBP’s Area Port Director in Philadelphia. “Consumers should be wary of any medicines that they purchase from an overseas vendor. The pills could be counterfeit pharmaceuticals manufactured with unknown and potentially dangerous ingredients that could pose very real and very serious health threats to consumers.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 10,000 Tramadol 100 mg tablets in Philadelphia on March 3, 2022, that were concealed inside two cakes in a parcel shipped from London to an address in Charleston, W.V.
The pills were wrapped in foil and concealed
inside cakes in a container of sweets from India.

CBP seized or disrupted an average of 4,732 pounds of dangerous drugs every day across the United States during fiscal year 2021. See what else CBP accomplished during a typical day in 2021.

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.