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CBP at JFK Arrests Heroin Smuggler

Release Date: 
January 12, 2016

U. S. Customs and Border Protection Officers Seize Pellets of Heroin in Bottles of Mamajuana

JAMAICA, N.Y. — An arriving passenger was planning to enjoy a very interesting cocktail, but U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport shut down her speakeasy before it ever opened.

CBP at JFK Seize Pellets of Heroin in Bottles of Mamajuana

CBP at JFK Seize Pellets of Heroin in Bottles of Mamajuana

On January 6, Ms. Rosa Almonte De Ortega arrived on a flight from Santiago, Dominican Republic and presented one checked-in suitcase for examination.  During the examination CBP officers discovered a bottle of ‘mamajuana’ that felt unusually heavy.  Ms. De Ortega was escorted to a private search room where CBP officers opened the bottle, and discovered pellets inside.  The pellets tested positive for heroin.

De Ortega, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was arrested for the importation of a controlled substance and was turned over to the New York Police Department.  In total, 32 pellets containing heroin were extracted from the bottle of ‘mamjuana’ with an approximate weight of 1 lb. and an estimated street value of $27,000.

“Heroin is a dangerous narcotic, and CBP does its part in keeping these drugs off the streets.” said Robert E. Perez, Director of CBP’s New York Field Operations.  “Our officers are determined to protect the American people from these illicit substances.”

Ms. De Ortega faces state narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

All defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Mama Juana or mamajuana is a drink from the Dominican Republic that is concocted by allowing rum, red wine, and honey to soak in a bottle with tree bark and herbs. The taste is similar to port wine and the color is a deep red.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017