Camouflage Scheme of 10.3 lb Cocaine Paste in Liquid Condiments Fails
LOS ANGELES-U.S. Customs and Protection (CBP) officers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) apprehended two passengers (a 54 year old mother and her 22 year old daughter) who were transporting 10.3 pounds of cocaine last Thursday night.
CBP officers intercepted, extracted and seized cocaine paste disguised within five food bags packed in the mother and daughter’s checked-in luggage. Both are citizens of Spain and were en-route to Australia.
CBP’s outbound inspection of the daughter’s checked-in luggage revealed two plastic packets of chocolate syrup and two plastic packets of salad dressing which felt unusually thick. Further probing revealed that a clear plastic bag with white paste had been placed inside of the packets. The extracted paste tested positive for cocaine
and weighed 5.5 lbs.
Subsequent examination of the mother’s checked-in luggage divulged another type syrup packet with a plastic bag hidden inside of it which contained a yellowish paste-like substance that also tested positive for cocaine and weighed 4.8 pounds.
“CBP officers use a multi-layered approach in researching and analyzing various patterns of high risk travelers. In this case, that analysis, coupled with the officer’s skills and training, led to this successful interdiction,” said Todd C. Owen CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles.
The mother and daughter were arrested and taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Both women have been ordered detained (ordered held without bond). They have both been charged in a criminal complaint with possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. If convicted of this offense, each would face a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in federal prison, and a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison.