News and Press Releases

DEFENDANT CHARGED WITH IMPORTING CANDY LACED WITH COCAINE ON FLIGHT TO FORT LAUDERDALE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2010

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations, Miami Field Office, and Sidney K. Aki, Acting Director, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations, announced the November 1 arrest of defendant Jose Manuel Torres Perez, 18, of Puerto Rico, on drug smuggling charges. Perez is charged with importing five kilograms or more of cocaine into the United States, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 952(a) and 960(b)(1)(B). If convicted, Perez faces a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment of ten years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

According to the criminal complaint, on November 1, 2010, Perez arrived into Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport on a flight from Bogota, Colombia. Perez proceeded to the CBP enclosure and presented himself and his luggage to CBP officers for inspection and entry into the United States. Within the luggage claimed by Perez, there were multiple paper shopping bags containing different articles of clothing. In addition, Perez claimed bags containing various types of candies. CBP discovered that the bottom of these bags contained cocaine. Upon this discovery, CBP gave closer inspection to the bags of candy claimed by Perez. CBP field-tested one of each type of candy and found that each type of candy field tested positive for cocaine. In total, CBP determined that Perez was in possession of approximately 9.6 kilograms of cocaine. Subsequently, ICE special agents arrested Torres Perez on the federal criminal charges.

Perez made his initial appearance on November 2 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow in Fort Lauderdale. Perez was ordered temporarily detained pending his pre-trial detention hearing, which is scheduled for Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Ft. Lauderdale and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Katz.

A complaint is only an accusation and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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