May 09, 2023
A bag with more than $400,000 worth of cocaine was seized from a passenger jet that traveled from Jamaica to Philadelphia International Airport last week, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials said.
The flight from Montego Bay arrived in Philadelphia on Thursday, May 4. Authorities didn't name the airline.
During a search of the jet, CBP officials found a drawstring bag decorated with a picture of reggae legend Bob Marley hidden behind a cargo panel.
Inside the bag, investigators found five bricks of cocaine weighing a total of 5.56 kilograms, or about 12 pounds, authorities said. One of the bricks had a McDonald's logo on it.
No arrests have been made, officials said.
The cocaine was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations in Philadelphia.
“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.”
In 2019, there were two large cocaine busts at the Port of Philadelphia, including the seizure of nearly 20 tons of the drug from the shipping vessel MSC Gayane. The cocaine taken from the ship was estimated to be worth about $1 billion, making the seizure one of the largest in U.S. history. Eight crew members aboard the vessel were criminally charged.