A man pleaded guilty Wednesday to smuggling cocaine on a flight from the Dominican Republic to Newark Airport stuffed inside two pillows.
Authorities with U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested 21-year-old Rafael Francisco Bautista Perdomo and fellow conspirator Brenda Mancebo Oct. 11, 2017 when they arrived at Newark Airport with the narcotics haul.
Agents found 6.6 pounds of cocaine sewn inside two neck pillows as they attempted to pass through a baggage screening checkpoint, reports NJ.com.
Perdomo pleaded guilty in a Newark federal court to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine.
He faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years when he is sentenced in December.
Mancebo previously pleaded guilty to the same charges and will also be sentenced in December.
Large quantities of narcotics continue to infiltrate the U.S. due to relentless efforts of drug traffickers taking advantage of America’s deteriorating addiction epidemic.
Traffickers often attempt to slip narcotics through American airports undetected.
Authorities busted a U.S. citizen living in Mexico with 15 pounds of heroin stuffed inside her luggage after she flew into Dulles International Airport in Virginia on March 10.
Agents arrested a man at Dulles International Airport in April 2017 after arriving on a flight with a bag of lollipops containing nearly two pounds of heroin.
Oddly enough, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, after conducting an interview, concluded the unidentified man had no idea he was transporting heroin within the lollipops.
Officials declined to press charges in that case.
Cocaine deaths spiked by 52 percent across the U.S. between 2015 and 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, following many years of relatively stable numbers.
Officials estimate the substance is now killing roughly 13,000 Americans each year, up from 6,700 in 2015.
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