QUEENS (PIX11) — A woman allegedly smuggled about $450,000 worth of cocaine in the wheels of her wheelchair from the Dominican Republic to John F. Kennedy International Airport, officials said Monday.
Officers noticed the wheels on Emelinda Paulino De Rivas’ wheelchair weren’t working when she flew into New York on Thursday, authorities said. A U. S. Customs and Border Protection x-ray of the wheelchair detected an anomaly in each wheel, so officers probed them and found around 28 pounds of cocaine inside.
A lethal dose is 1-3 grams. The amount of cocaine could have caused around 6,000 deadly overdoses, according to CBP.
Officers arrested De Rivas on federal narcotics smuggling charges, officials said. She was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations.
“CBP stands steadfast and determined in working with our partners to identify the trans- national criminal networks responsible for importing these deadly drugs into our neighborhoods.” said Francis J. Russo, director of CBP’s New York Field Operations. “CBP’s mission is to guard the borders and ports of entry 24/7, 365 days a year to prevent these dangerous drugs from potentially killing our family, friends, and neighbors.”