A woman who flew to John F. Kennedy International Airport from the Dominican Republic last week allegedly was caught with cocaine hidden in her bra, purse -- and some internal bodily areas, federal officials said Tuesday.
The passenger, identified as Yerlina Lantigua Hernandez DeNova, presented herself for inspection upon arriving at the Queens hub April 9, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said. Officers found three pellets containing white powder that later tested positive for cocaine within her purse, the agency said.
DeNova was then taken to a private search room, where CBP officers allegedly found similar pellets in her bra. The woman allegedly told officers at that time that she had also inserted pellets into her body.
In total, about 100 pellets of white powder were recovered on and in DeNova, investigators said. All of the pellets tested positive for cocaine.
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About three pounds of the drug were seized. The estimated street value of the seizure is nearly $100,000, officials said.
DeNova was charged with importing a controlled substance into the United States, which is a felony offense. She was arrested and turned her over to Homeland Security Investigations.
DeNova 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, officials said. It wasn't immediately clear if she had retained an attorney.