Airline passenger admits smuggling six pounds of cocaine in his neck pillow and being paid $10,000 to bring it to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic
- Customs and Border Protection officers found more than six pounds of cocaine in a neck pillow of a passenger coming from the Dominican Republic
- Rafael Francisco Bautista Perdomo, 21, admitted that he attempted to smuggle drugs into the country after being paid $10,000
- Perdomo was travelling with a companion, Brenda Alyssa Mancebo, 20, who was also carrying a neck pillow stuffed full of coke
- During routine baggage screening, CBP officers discovered the stash of cocaine sewn inside each of the neck pillows that the defendants were carrying
- The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a potential maximum penalty of life in prison, and a $10 million fine
Customs and Border Protection officers found more than six pounds of cocaine in a neck pillow of a passenger coming from the Dominican Republic (file photo)
A passenger has been caught attempting to smuggle six pounds of cocaine through Newark airport in New Jersey, hidden in a neck pillow.
The man from the Dominican Republic was caught by customs officials at the airport as he was attempting to head out of the terminal.
Rafael Francisco Bautista Perdomo, 21, was one of two people arrested at the airport in after Customs and Border Protection officers found more than 6½ pounds sewn inside each of their respective pillows.
Prosecutors said Perdomo, who was represented by the Federal Public Defender’s Office pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to a drug conspiracy.
He now faces a potential sentence of up to 40 years in prison and a mandatory minimum of five.
During routine baggage screening at Newark airport, pictured, CBP officers discovered the stash of cocaine sewn inside each of the neck pillows that the defendants were carrying
Perdomo and his co-defendant Brenda Mancebo were stopped at baggage screening checkpoints after arriving on a flight from Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic last October.
Mancebo also initially told federal agents she didn’t recognize Perdomo, but that claim was apparently debunked by photos that investigators found on her cell phone, the court document stated.
‘Law enforcement conducted a lawful search of Mancebo’s phone, where law enforcement discovered multiple pictures of Perdomo that appeared to have been taken by Perdomo himself,’ a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations said in court papers.
There was also a saved photo of the pair together days before the arrest, according to the compliant.
Perdomo has been held in custody since his arrest after he admitted to investigators that he had agreed to smuggle the drugs into the country after being paid $10,000.
Mancebo also pleaded guilty to the same charges and now both she and Perdomo are due to be sentenced in December.