A 22-year-old man was arrested last week after officials thought there was something a little odd about his wheelchair.
The incident took place Tuesday at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, according to a release posted on the website of Customs and Border Protection.
Alexander A. Lopez-Morel, who has lawful permanent resident status in the U.S., arrived on a flight from the Dominican Republic.
Lopez-Morel was using an electric wheelchair as he left the plane and entered the airport.
Customs and Border Protection officers poked and prodded. In time, they found multiple packages of cocaine under the wheelchair’s seat.
Four packages holding more than 23 pounds of cocaine were found.
CBP agents and officers seized more than 34,000lbs of cocaine during the first seven months of FY22.
— ACTING VP 49TH 🇺🇲 (@ACTINGVP49) June 5, 2022
Officials put the street value of the drugs at $378,000.
“This seizure demonstrates the dynamic border environment in which CBP officers operate at CLT,” said Barry Chastain, CBP Area Port Director Charlotte, using the call letters of the Charlotte airport.
“Our officers are determined to adapt and respond to these threats in an effort to stop narcotics reaching our communities,” he said.
Lopez-Morel was charged with felony trafficking in cocaine
The drugs and wheelchair were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations special agents, Queen City’s Border Enforcement Security Team and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for further investigation.
Although drug seizures at the Southern Border are common, CBP noted on its website that all borders are avenues through which smugglers try to bring drugs into the U.S.
We DO support border patrol. We congratulate them every time you post about them SEIZING a record amount of drugs!
Thank you @CBP for doing your jobs dern well!
— Shannon Angel (@73SNAngel) June 1, 2022
On Wednesday, for example, a quantity of ecstasy, marijuana and mushrooms were seized in Champlain, New York, at the Canadian border, according to a news release.
A 30-year-old woman was detained, the release said.
Late last month, according to another release, about 1,500 pounds of methamphetamine was seized near Bellingham, Washington.
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