PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WHTM) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Philadelphia found 10,000 tablets of Tramadol, a Schedule IV controlled substance, concealed inside cakes.
The parcel manifested as “garments” arrived from London and was destined to an address in Charleston, West Virginia. Officials say 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.
The discovery comes one day after CBP officers in Philadelphia found soup cans leaking a purple liquid. Analysis revealed that the liquid was MDMA hydrochloride, also more commonly known as ecstasy.
“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.”
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CBP seized or disrupted an average of 4,732 pounds of dangerous drugs every day across the United States during fiscal year 2021.