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US CBP Seizes a Cocaine Cookbook from Trinidad & Tobago

 On February 17, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at an express consignment hub in Memphis, Tennessee examined a package described in the paperwork as a high school cookbook. The package contained one hardcover book titled “The Multi-Cultural Cuisine of Trinidad & Tobago & the Caribbean.” However, CBPOs found many of the 500 recipes and 32 colored photographs missing, cut out to make room for a rectangular packet of cocaine weighing 147.6 grams.  

Front of cookbook

The shipment was sent from Trinidad and Tobago to an address in the Little Caribbean neighborhood of New York City.

U.S. importers provide advance information about container cargo, express consignment shipments, and some international mail parcels bound for the United States. CBP uses this data to target and intercept high-risk shipments.

CBP personnel are trained to identify patterns and red flags that enable them to intercept shipments that may contain illicit and potentially dangerous goods.

“How was the recipient intending to cook his traditional callaloo, with all the pages cut up and replaced with cocaine,” said Area Port Director Michael Neipert. “Smugglers continue to conceal narcotics and other contraband in myriad ways, which my officers seize over and over every shift.”

This seizure took place within the Area Port of Memphis, which covers ports of entry throughout the state of Tennessee and falls under CBP’s New Orleans Field Office. This Field Office includes all ports in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.