CHARLOTTE, NC — An arriving passenger at Charlotte Douglas International Airport arrived with more than just a rolling electric wheelchair when met by U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers.
On Tuesday, Mr. Alexander A. Lopez-Morel; a 22-year-old lawful permanent resident of the United States arrived in Charlotte on flight from the Dominican Republic was encountered by CBP officers utilizing an electric wheelchair to conceal packages of a white powdery substance.
After he underwent further inspection by officers involving a closer examination of the motorized chair, CBP officers found the packages within the seat cushions containing the substance that field-tested positive for cocaine.
“This seizure demonstrates the dynamic border environment in which CBP officers operate at CLT.” said Barry Chastain, CBP Area Port Director Charlotte. “Our officers are determined to adapt and respond to these threats in an effort to stop narcotics reaching our communities.”
A total of four packages containing over 23 pounds of cocaine discovered inside the wheelchair has an estimated street value of $378.000.00
CBP officers placed Mr. Lopez-Morel under arrest and the cocaine and wheelchair were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, Queen City’s Border Enforcement Security Team (BEST) and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for further investigation. Mr. Lopez-Morel was charged with felony trafficking in cocaine.
Criminal charges are merely allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.
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