Cocaine found in shoes at JFK

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October 23, 2009 12:31:21 PM PDT
A Worcester, MA resident apparently tried to stroll past U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers at JFK airport with nearly 7 pounds of cocaine in his shoes. On Saturday afternoon, CBP Officers selected Mr. Ortega for a routine baggage inspection after arriving on a flight from Santiago, Dominican Republic. The checked bags Mr. Ortega was in possession of six pairs of shoes with unusually thick soles. A more intrusive inspection of the shoes revealed a white powdery substance concealed within the soles that field tested positive for cocaine.

"CBP employs some of the most dedicated professional law enforcement officers in the country," stated Robert E. Perez, Director, Office of Field Operations, New York Field Office. "These highly skilled officers are committed to intercepting any threat or illicit activity before it adversely affects our nation's communities."

"Drug smugglers will do whatever it takes to sneak drugs into our communities. We at ICE are grateful to have CBP as our first line of defense," said James T. Hayes Jr. special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New York. "ICE is committed to tracking down and dismantling the criminal organizations responsible for smuggling illegal drugs into the United States."

The narcotics seized during this inspection carried a street value over $220,000, and its investigation is ongoing. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District Court of New York. Mr. Ortega was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. If convicted, Mr. Roberts may face significant jail time.

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