PHILADELPHIA – Some ravers might be a little safer today. Customs and Border Protection officers seized ketamine concealed in picture frames in separate shipments that arrived on Wednesday and Friday in express air delivery at Philadelphia International Airport.

Customs and Border Protection officers seized two separate shipments of ketamine concealed inside the corrugated plastic backing of picture frames in Philadelphia on September 30 and October 2, 2020.
CBP officers discovered the ketamine concealed
nside picture frame backing.

With assistance from CBP officers in Chicago, Philadelphia CBP officers inspected the parcels, which arrived from The Netherlands and was destined to an address in Hartford County, Conn. Each shipment contained six picture frames. Upon close examination, officers discovered a white substance concealed in the corrugated plastic backing of those picture frames. Officers tested the substance using a handheld chemical analyzer and identified the substance as ketamine.

The total weight of the ketamine and picture frames was 16.4 kilograms or about 36 pounds, three ounces. CBP turned the picture frames and ketamine over to Homeland Security Investigations.

Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations in Hartford, Conn., arrested a subject and continues their investigation.

According to the DEA, ketamine is a Schedule III non-narcotic drug regulated under the Controlled Substances Act. Along with other club drugs, ketamine is popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and raves. It delivers hallucinogenic effects and is sometimes used to facilitate sexual assault crimes. Ketamine can induce a state of sedation, immobility, relief from pain, and amnesia as the user may have no memory of events while under the influence.

Ketamine also distorts perceptions, causes temporary paralysis and dangerously slows breathing, potentially shutting down body systems and leading to cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.

“Secreting dangerous drugs within picture frames is not a new concealment method; however, Customs and Border Protection officers must still effort to detect and intercept it,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “CBP officers across the country often partner during illicit narcotics interceptions because we are all singularly focused on one very important mission – protecting our nation’s citizens from dangerous drugs.”

CBP seized an average of 3,707 pounds of dangerous drugs every day across the United States last year. Learn more about what CBP accomplished during “A Typical Day” in 2019.

CBP’s border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.

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

Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore and on Instagram at @dfobaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos.

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