While inspecting containers recently at a seaport in Pennsauken, New Jersey, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers observed something unusual about one specific container. Their curiosity made them transport that particular container to the CBP’s centralized examination station in Philadelphia. A thorough inspection of the container led to the discovery of around 256 bricks of a white powdery substance concealed in the walls of the kitchen cabinets and bedroom furniture. Further field tests of the white powder revealed it was cocaine.
According to CBP officials, the container had over 700 pounds of cocaine and was shipped from Puerto Rico. The seizure was made on Nov. 2, 2017. A couple of weeks later, toward the end of November 2017, CBP authorities seized an additional 30 pounds of cocaine stashed inside a wooden chest. The entire drug consignments seized during the two busts were estimated at a street value of $22 million.
According to authorities, these seizures are the CBP’s sixth largest in its history and the 10th largest drug bust in the Port of Philadelphia. In a statement, Joseph Martella of CBP said, “Customs and Border Protection knows that transnational drug trafficking organizations will take advantage of natural disasters, and in this case an island struggling to recover from a crippling hurricane, to smuggle dangerous drugs to our nation’s mainland.” He added that his team members have been constantly vigilant to prevent the entry of illicit substances into their city.
Cocaine use widespread across US
Today, the U.S. has sadly earned the ill-repute of being the worlds’ largest consumer of cocaine, with most of its coke being supplied by deadly drug trafficking organizations operating an extensive network in Colombia. Cocaine cartels usually ship huge loads of drugs from Colombia to Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala or other transit points in Mexico, from where they reach the U.S. in ingenious ways. In the fiscal year 2017, CBP officers across 328 ports of entry (POEs) seized more than 121,100 pounds of cocaine as against 58,300 pounds seized in 2016 and 49,300 pounds in 2015.
More and more Americans are getting trapped into the clutches of cocaine. Besides the destructive impact on physical health, addiction to cocaine also affects the users’ mental health adversely. Additionally, experts say chronic coke users are vulnerable to irreversible long-term damage of multiple vital organs and impairment of critical body functions. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 1.9 million people aged 12 or older were the current users of cocaine. The NSDUH data also shows that nearly 867,000 people in 2016 grappled with a cocaine use disorder in the past year.
However, addiction to cocaine can be treated with timely medical help. The best way to break free from cocaine is to undergo a customized detoxification program at a reputed rehabilitation center to combat the life-shattering effects of the killer drug.
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