(CMR) A woman was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport for allegedly smuggling US$450,000 worth of cocaine in the wheels of a wheelchair last Thursday, 10 November.
Reports are that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were interviewing Emelinda Paulino De Rivas, who had gotten off a flight from Punta Cana when they noticed her wheelchair's wheels weren't turning. They did an X-ray of the chair and “noticed an anomaly in all four wheels.”
The officers probed the wheels and found a white powder, which tested positive for cocaine, CBP said in a news release. The feds said they seized about 28 pounds of cocaine, which has an estimated street value of nearly half a million dollars.
The officers arrested De Rivas on federal narcotics smuggling charges and turned her over to Homeland Security Investigations. She now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.
“CBP stands steadfast and determined in working with our partners to identify the transnational criminal networks responsible for importing these deadly drugs into our neighborhoods.” Francis J. Russo, Director of CBP's New York field operations, said.
“CBP's mission is to guard the borders and ports of entry 24/7, 365 days a year, to prevent these dangerous drugs from potentially killing our family, friends, and neighbors,” Russo added.