Pennsylvania Woman Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Drugs into U.S. on Commercial Flight
Defendant swallowed pellets of drugs and concealed additional pellets in her bodysuit
BOSTON – A Pennsylvania woman pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to smuggling drugs into the United States on a commercial flight from the Dominican Republic.
Natalia Alexander Duran, 22, pleaded guilty to two counts of importation of a controlled substance - heroin and cocaine, and two counts of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute - heroin and cocaine. U.S. District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel scheduled sentencing for June 28, 2018.
On May 30, 2017, Duran arrived at Logan International Airport on a flight from the Dominican Republic. Upon arrival, Duran, a U.S. citizen, was referred for a secondary baggage examination. Duran stated that she needed to use the restroom and was told that she would have to be “pat frisked” before she could do so. Duran was then pat frisked by a female officer, who felt an abnormality in Duran’s groin area. Duran subsequently admitted that she had drugs concealed in her clothing. 41 pellets of suspected cocaine were removed from a bodysuit worn by Duran. Concerned that Duran may have ingested additional pellets of drugs, she was transported to a local hospital and given an x-ray, which revealed numerous pellets inside her abdominal area. While at the hospital, Duran excreted an additional 68 pellets. A combined total of 109 pellets were recovered and tested and determined to be approximately 971 grams of cocaine and approximately 109 grams of heroin.
Duran faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 40 years in prison, a minimum of four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $5 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and William A. Ferrara, Director of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney David G. Tobin of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.