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Press Release

Indictment Charges Puerto Rico Woman with Trafficking Cocaine into Connecticut

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Michael J. Krol, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New England, today announced that KARINA CINTRON SANTIAGO, 24, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, had been charged with trafficking 12 kilograms of cocaine into Connecticut.

As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, on June 4, 2023, a search of a luggage bag that Cintron Santiago checked prior to boarding a JetBlue flight from San Juan Airport to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, revealed approximately 12 kilograms of cocaine.  When Cintron Santiago arrived in Connecticut and discovered that her bag was not at baggage claim, she reported it lost.  JetBlue personnel informed Cintron Santiago that when her bag was located they would deliver it to her, but she indicated that she would rather pick it up at the airport.  On June 7, undercover investigators posing as JetBlue personnel contacted Cintron Santiago to inform her that her bag had been located and would be arriving on a flight to Bradley International Airport the next day.

On June 8, 2023, investigators placed Cintron Santiago’s bag, which contained its original contents, on a luggage carousel at Bradley International Airport.  Cintron Santiago was arrested after she arrived at the airport and removed her bag from the luggage carousel.

On June 20, 2023, a grand jury in New Haven returned an indictment charging Cintron Santiago with possession with intent to distribute cocaine.  Cintron Santiago, who had been detained since her arrest, appeared yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. Richardson in Hartford, entered a plea of not guilty to the charge, and was released on a $75,000 bond.

The charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.  U.S. Attorney Avery stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. A charge is only an allegation, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey M. Stone.

Updated June 27, 2023

Drug Trafficking