JAMAICA, N.Y. — An arriving passenger was “full of pellets”. Fortunately, this is not the first time U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers in New York have seen this concealment method.
On April 9, Ms. Yerlina Lantigua Hernandez DeNova, a Lawful Permanent Resident, arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and presented herself for inspection. During her examination, CBP officers discovered three pellets containing a white powder within her purse.
Ms. DeNova was subsequently escorted to a private search room where CBP officers conducted a physical search of her person. During the search, CBP officers found pellets containing a white powder within her bra. At this time Ms. DeNova admitted to CBP officers that she had also inserted pellets vaginally and anally. CBP officers tested a sample of the pellets and those pellets tested positive for cocaine.
In total 100 pellets of white powder were discovered on and in Ms. Hernandez that tested positive for cocaine.
A total weight of approximately 3 lbs. of cocaine was seized, with an estimated street value of more than $94,000. Ms. DeNova was charged with importing a controlled substance into the United States, which is a felony.
“This seizure is another example of our CBP officers being ever vigilant in protecting the United States from the distribution of these illicit drugs,” said Marty Raybon, Acting Director of CBP’s New York Field Operations.
CBP officers placed Ms. DeNova under arrest and turned her over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). She now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.
All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty.