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Does this cocaine make me look fat? Two men on flight caught with $400,000 worth of drug taped to their bodies.

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 27/04/2017 Faiz Siddiqui
Ariel Garcia was arrested on federal narcotics smuggling charges after Customs and Border Protection officers found cocaine taped to his legs. © Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Ariel Garcia was arrested on federal narcotics smuggling charges after Customs and Border Protection officers found cocaine taped to his legs.

Two airline passengers took the idea of “carry-on” to an extreme on their flight to New York.

The men, on the same Delta Airlines flight, but traveling separately, were arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport last week after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found a combined 23 pounds of cocaine under their clothes in separate searches, authorities said Wednesday. The combined street value of the cocaine was nearly $400,000, (NZ$578k) authorities said.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Ariel Garcia, a U.S. citizen, and Elvin Montilla-Sosa, of the Dominican Republic, had both arrived in New York from Santo Domingo on April 19 when they were stopped for searches. An agency spokesman said they were not traveling together. In both cases, officers took the men to private search rooms.

Charging documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said officers observed that Garcia was wearing baggy clothes, with “unusual bulging” around his calves.

Officers searching Garcia found about 11 pounds of cocaine, valued at more than $180,000, according to Customs and Border Protection. The packages were taped to his legs, the agency said. Garcia admitted he was being paid about $8,000 to bring the drugs to New York, according to the charging documents.

Elvin Montilla-Sosa was arrested on federal narcotics smuggling charges after Customs and Border Protection officers found cocaine taped to his legs and back. © Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Elvin Montilla-Sosa was arrested on federal narcotics smuggling charges after Customs and Border Protection officers found cocaine taped to his legs and back.

In Montilla-Sosa’s case, officers found about 12 pounds of cocaine, valued at more than $200,000, according to CBP. A photo showed the cocaine wrapped around his calves, thighs and back.

Charging documents said Montilla-Sosa initially gave officers a brown suitcase for inspection, and told them he was an attorney traveling to the United States to attend an immigration law conference. Officers then patted him down and found multiple “bulges” concealed by spandex. The transparent packages of cocaine were underneath, according to charging documents. Like Garcia, Montilla-Sosa admitted he was being paid to smuggle the drugs, according to charging documents.

“This latest seizure demonstrates our CBP officers being ever vigilant in protecting the United States from the distribution of these illicit drugs,” Leon Hayward, acting director of CBP’s New York Field Operations, said in a statement.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is prosecuting the case on federal narcotics smuggling charges, officials said.

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