Philadelphia CBP Seizes Nearly $1.7M in Fentanyl Shipped from China

Over 100 lbs of Fentanyl found in hidden in barrels of iron oxide.
Over 100 lbs of Fentanyl found in hidden in barrels of iron oxide. (Courtesy of CBP)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 110 pounds of the deadly opioid fentanyl with an estimated $1.7 million street value Monday in Philadelphia.

CBP officers from the Area Port of Philadelphia conducting routine examinations discovered the fentanyl in a shipment of iron oxide that arrived from China.

A CBP narcotics detector dog alerted to the presence of narcotics inside the barrels of iron oxide.

100 lbs of 4 Fluoroisobutyryl Fentanyl, a potent fentanyl analog
100 lbs of 4 Fluoroisobutyryl Fentanyl, a potent fentanyl analog

CBP officers, wearing personal protective equipment, searched through the iron oxide and discovered 50 packages that contained sealed bags of a white, powdery substance.

Officers tested the substance using a handheld elemental isotype analysis tool that can identify over 14,000 chemical substances with the use of a laser or infrared beam.

The device identified the substance as fentanyl.

Optim, a competitor in the 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Awards program, was recently awarded a five-year, sole-source contract to supply its FreedomView Videoscope to the United States Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) division.

The FreedomView provides law enforcement agents the ability to search for illegal contraband, such as drugs, people, and weapons of mass effect hidden in hard-to-reach-and-see areas of vehicles, containers, and other conveyances.

(With the FreedomView LED Videoscope (FVVS) law enforcement officers can safely perform visual inspections of vehicles and other areas where contraband may be hidden. Maintain eye contact with individuals and your surroundings while performing searches. Video and still pictures are available with the simple push of a button! Courtesy of OptimSecurity and YouTube)

CBP’s Laboratory and Scientific Services (LSS) conducted additional testing and identified the substance as 4-Fluoroisobutyryl Fentanyl, a fentanyl analog and DEA Schedule I controlled substance.

The fentanyl weighed a combined 50 kilograms, or 110 pounds.

High purity fentanyl such as this can sell for over $34,000 per kilogram on the street.

CBP’s Laboratory and Scientific Services (LSS)
CBP’s Laboratory and Scientific Services (LSS) process a wide variety of items under very exact conditions

“Opioids, including fentanyl and its analogues, are a serious public health concern, and the importation of vast amounts of this deadly synthetic chemical compound is a national security threat.”

“Customs and Border Protection remains committed to keeping our communities safe by combatting the flow of illicit drugs, including synthetic opioids, into the United States,” said Casey Durst, CBP Director of Field Operations in Baltimore.

Casey Owen Durst, Director, Field Operations for the Baltimore Field Office
Casey Owen Durst, Director, Field Operations for the Baltimore Field Office

Director Durst recently testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, during a field hearing in Harrisburg, PA, regarding the threat of opioids and fentanyl to communities in the United States.

As part of her testimony, she emphasized that, in cooperation with our law enforcement partners, CBP remains vigilant and continues to enhance the effectiveness of our detection and interdiction capabilities to combat transnational threats in order to secure our homeland and help keep our communities safe.

CBP’s fentanyl seizures are trending up.

During 2016, the first year CBP started tracking fentanyl seizures, officers seized 440 pounds nationally.

That number grew to 951 pounds in 2017, and 984 pounds through the end of April 2018.

CBP has expanded its efforts to detect opioids to ensure officer and detector dog safety.

CBP has imprinted all narcotic detector dogs on fentanyl, and all officers have quick-access to appropriate personal protective equipment.

Additionally, CBP trained and equipped officers with naloxone, and continues to work closely with our interagency partners to improve targeting of fentanyl entering the United States.

(Learn More. Fentanyl has become a true health threat to law enforcement and first responders protecting the communities we live and work in. Produced in collaboration with the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats, this presentation shows a unique insight into the history, legitimate, and illicit uses of fentanyl, as well as giving practical precautions involving potential exposure risks. Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and YouTube. Posted on Feb 4, 2018.)

Learn more about the dangers of fentanyl and other opioids at the DEA’s fentanyl webpage.

On a typical day in 2017, CBP officers seized 5,863 pounds of illicit narcotics across the nation. Learn more about what CBP did during “A Typical Day” in 2017.

CBP’s border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations.

Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.

Learn more about CBP at