Philadelphia CBP stops dangerous shipment of ketamine hidden inside boxing mats bound for North Carolina

Philadelphia — Philadelphia Customs and Border Protection officers were not a lightweight when they knocked out the consignee in North Carolina and delivered a knockout punch of nearly seven pounds of dangerous ketamine on January 5.

Customs and Border Protection officers in Philadelphia seized nearly seven pounds of dangerous ketamine bound for Durham, North Carolina, on January 5, 2022.
Customs and Border Protection officers discovered approximately 7 pounds of
Ketamine inside two boxing mats.

Customs and Border Protection officers discovered ketamine, a dangerous substance used as a narcotic and in sexual assaults, while examining a shipment appearing as “boxing wall mats” from the Netherlands.

The CBP officers didn’t pull any punches. They immediately discovered an anomaly when they filmed a charge of two boxing grounds. Then the officers opened the boxing mats and found four packets of a white powdery substance wrapped in aluminum foil that were hidden inside the foam inserts. Officers tested the substance using a hand-held primary isotope analyzer and identified the contents as ketamine hydrochloride.

The combined weight of ketamine was 3.05 kilograms, or approximately six pounds, 12 ounces. He was heading to an address in Durham, North Carolina

CBP officers turned ketamine into special agents of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). HSI Special Agents continue to investigate.

Customs and Border Protection officers aren’t going to throw in the towel anytime soon in their drug prevention efforts. So far in this fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2021, CBP officers in the Baltimore field office have reported 21 bouts of ketamine with a total weight of approximately 60 pounds. During fiscal year 2021, Baltimore field office officers recorded 37 seizures with a total weight of approximately 150 pounds.

“Customs and Border Protection officers are highly skilled at uncovering creative drug smuggling concealment methods, such as the ketamine we found in boxing mats,” said Joseph Martella, Director of the Philadelphia Port District at CBP. “We want to assure the public that CBP remains committed to answering the bell to help keep our communities safe from the scourge of dangerous drugs.”

Customs and Border Protection officers in Philadelphia seized nearly seven pounds of dangerous ketamine bound for Durham, North Carolina, on January 5, 2022.
Officers found that ketamine was hidden
Foam stuffing inside the boxing mats.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, ketamine is a Schedule III non-narcotic drug regulated by the Controlled Substances Act. Ketamine, known on the street as Special K, distorts perceptions, causes memory loss, temporary paralysis, and dangerously slows breathing, which can shut down body systems and lead to cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.

Along with other club drugs, ketamine is very popular among teens and young adults in dance and rave clubs. It causes hallucinations and is sometimes used to facilitate sexual assault crimes.

CBP officers and agents seize an average of 4,732 pounds of dangerous drugs each day at our nation’s air, land, and sea ports of entry. Find out what else CBP accomplished during a typical day in 2021.

The CBP border security mission at ports of entry is led by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. Customs and Border Protection officials screen international travelers and merchandise and search for illegal drugs, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that can harm the American public, American businesses, the safety and economic vitality of our nation.

Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations is securing our country’s borders. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.

Follow the CBP Baltimore Field Office Director on Twitter at Tweet embed For breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos, CBP Field Operations Office on Instagram at @cbpfieldops.

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