U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the alleged smuggler was carrying $85,000 worth of cocaine.
An alleged cocaine smuggler posed as a Delta Airlines pilot while flying into New York City with drugs in his luggage, border officials said this week.
On March 27, U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers stopped passenger Mario Hudson, a citizen of Jamaica, as he arrived on a flight from Kingston.
Hudson was dressed in what appeared to be a pilot’s uniform and claimed he was a "dead-heading crewmember," an employee who flies as a passenger from one airport to another where they intend to work a flight, according to a CBP release.
During the baggage inspection, CBP officers discovered Hudson had what appeared to be two fraudulent Delta Airlines ID badges, the release says.
During the examination of Hudson’s luggage, CBP officers say they noticed the sides and bottom of the bag appeared to be unusually thick and heavy.
Hudson was escorted to a private search room, where his suitcase was probed. Inside, authorities say they found about five pounds of white powder that tested positive for cocaine.
The estimated street value of the drugs was estimated to be about $85,000.
Hudson was arrested for the import of a controlled substance and turned over to Homeland Security Investigations.
"This seizure demonstrates the vigilance and dedication demonstrated daily by CBP officers at JFK, in keeping these prohibited and dangerous narcotics off the streets of our communities," said Leon Hayward, acting Director of Field Operations in New York for CBP.
Hudson 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.