Busted! JFK Passenger Tries to Smuggle 7 Pounds of Coke in His Shoes

Friday, Oct 23, 2009  |  Updated 4:30 PM EDT
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Busted! JFK Passenger Tries to Smuggle 7 Pounds of Coke in His Shoes

NBCNewYork.com

You call that hiding?

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Here's a tip: If you're trying to smuggle seven pounds of cocaine across the border, don't attempt to hide it in your shoes.

A guy from Massachusetts will tell you it's a really bad idea. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers busted a man, identified only by his last name, Ortega, trying to scuttle through with more than $220,000 worth of cocaine in his sneaks.   

It all began innocently enough, with border patrol officials picking out Ortega for a routine baggage inspection after he arrived on a flight from the Dominican Republic. Authorities found six pairs of shoes in his checked baggage; they had unusually thick soles.

Hmmmm ….

Upon closer inspection, authorities found a white powdery substance within the soles that field tested positive for cocaine. Oops.

"CBP is employs some of the most dedicated professional law enforcement officers in the country," said Robert E. Perez, Director, Office of Field Operations, New York Field Office.  "These highly skilled officers are committed to intercepting any threat or illicit activity before it adversely affects our nation’s communities."    

The investigation is ongoing.  Ortega was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.  If convicted, he could face significant time behind bars.

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