BOSTON—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Boston Logan International Airport were not deceived by a traveler's creative drug concealment method when 24 pounds of a liquid cocaine mixture was discovered and seized in small cosmetic containers.
On Jan. 28, the alleged smuggler, 38-year-old Johanna Carolina Ortiz, a U.S. Citizen, arrived on a flight from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and was referred for a secondary enforcement examination.
During the baggage examination, CBP officers located a large and suspicious amount of cosmetic products in Ortiz's suitcase. Further testing and examination confirmed 24 pounds of a liquid cocaine mixture, concealed in 25 bottles and canisters, labeled as hair products and hand lotion.
"The vigilance and experience of our CBP officers has prevented an alleged smuggler from introducing harmful narcotics into our communities," said Kevin W. Weeks, director of field operations in Boston. "This arrest exemplifies the extreme measures criminals will undertake to smuggle contraband, and CBP's mission and determination to intercept persons and contraband that pose threats to our country."
Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) agents were contacted, and Ortiz, the narcotics and her personal belongings were turned over to the Massachusetts State Police Logan Airport Narcotics Task Force for further investigation and prosecution by the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Massachusetts.
The charges and allegations contained in criminal complaints are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.