U. S. Customs and Border Protection agents have arrested a 33-year-old woman who was rolling around Kennedy Airport with a motorized wheelchair filled with cocaine, officials said Tuesday.
Yoncela Stanley had just landed in the U.S. on a JetBlue flight #882 from St. Lucia on Sunday when Customs and Border Protection officers noticed something was wrong with the chair’s back seat cushion.
Stanley appeared nervous when she presented her baggage, prompting Customs agents to bring over a K-9 dog. The dog alerted the officers to the contraband, authorities said.
When the agents removed the cushion, they found it unusually heavy — probably because it was filled with more than 10 bricks of cocaine weighing about 27 pounds, officials said.
The drugs had an estimated street value of US$468,000, officials said.
Stanley was charged with federal narcotics smuggling and was ordered held on $50,000 bail during a brief arraignment Monday in Brooklyn Federal Court.
“This latest seizure demonstrates the vigilance of our CBP officers, and their excellence in detecting those who would try to smuggle these illegal substances,” said Leon Hayward, acting director of field operations New York.
It has not been confirmed whether the woman is Saint Lucian by birth.