Philadelphia CBP Officers Detect Cocaine, Methamphetamine in Hair and Skin Care Containers

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PHILADELPHIA – A man who arrived from the Dominican Republic didn’t have much to be thankful for on November 23 after the cocaine and methamphetamine that Philadelphia Customs and Border Protection officers found in his hair care products has him facing Pennsylvania felony drug possession charges.

A Dominican Republic national was arrested on felony drug possession charges after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered cocaine and methamphetamine concealed inside hair and skin care product containers during a baggage inspection at Philadelphia International Airport on November 23, 2022.
A Dominican Republic national is facing felony drug possession charges in Pennsylvania after CBP officers found cocaine and methamphetamine concealed inside hair and skin care containers.

Miguel Almonte Hernandez, 32, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, arrived from Punta Cana to Philadelphia International Airport on Thanksgiving Eve. During a secondary baggage examination, CBP officers field-tested the contents of a shampoo bottle, a hair conditioner bottle, a container of hair wax, a bottle of the banned performance enhancer Cardarine, and a jar of skin care cream.

The skin care cream tested positive for the properties of methamphetamine and weighed 129 grams, or 4.5 ounces. The remaining four containers tested positive for the properties of cocaine and weighed a collective 1,492 grams, or about 53 ounces.

CBP officers turned the containers and its contents and Almonte Hernandez over to special agents from Homeland Security Investigations.

HSI agents conducted an investigation with special agents from the DEA and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and Drug Control (BNI) which led to BNI charging Almonte Hernandez on multiple Pennsylvania narcotics possession charges.

Criminal charges are merely allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

“One could say that this guy’s not as clean as he wanted us to believe, but this was a great interception and a reminder of the continued threat that drug trafficking organizations pose to our communities,” said Joseph Martella, Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Philadelphia. “Customs and Border Protection officers remain committed to helping protect our families, friends, and neighbors every day by securing our nation’s borders and intercepting dangerous drugs when we encounter them.”

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“HSI’s outstanding relationship with CBP is crucial to the interdiction of dangerous drugs coming through our airports,” said William S. Walker, Special Agent in Charge of HSI’s Philadelphia office. “I am extremely proud of the teamwork and partnership that is demonstrated every day between our Border Enforcement Security Task Force and CBP, who are making a real difference in the fight against drug trafficking.”

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

CBP’s border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers and agriculture specialists from the Office of Field Operations. CBP screens international travelers and cargo and searches for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, invasive weeds and pests, 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 www.CBP.gov.

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