CINCINNATI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials in Cincinnati seized 50 consignments of green cocaine powder between October 1, 2020 and February 7, 2021. The total amount of cocaine in all 50 shipments was 433 pounds.
The shipments came from Peru and Colombia and went to individuals in the US, Canada and Australia. Some of the broadcasts contained additional planned or controlled substances such as mescaline powder and peyote.
Initially, the shipments were packaged so that they looked like matcha or moringa powder, both popular dietary supplements. Matcha and moringa powders are regularly shipped to the US, but usually not from South America CBP’s laboratories and scientific services (LSS) for further testing. LSS, the forensic and scientific arm of CBP, confirmed that the powder contained cocaine.
Cocaine is made from the leaves of the coca plant Erythroxylum coca, and through a chemical process using gasoline, ammonia, and other chemicals, the green powder is made into the more commonly known white form. Both types of cocaine contain psychoactive alkaloids and are regulated by the Regulated Substances Act.
“The knowledge and exceptional training of our officers meant that these programs had to be tested further.” said Richard Gillespie, Port Director of Cincinnati. “Your instincts, combined with the professional scientific analysis available to CBP, have kept this dangerous green powder out of our neighborhoods.”
CBP conducts operations at ports of entry in the United States and periodically screens incoming international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the leading law enforcement agency, improving the security and prosperity of the nation through collaboration, innovation and inclusion.