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Press Release

Man From Dominican Republic Admits Role In Conspiracy To Distribute Cocaine Concealed In Airline Neck Pillows

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A man from the Dominican Republic today admitted his role in a conspiracy to distribute three kilograms of cocaine by bringing the drugs into the United States concealed in airline neck pillows, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Rafael Francisco Bautista Perdomo, 21, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark federal court to a superseding information charging him with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Oct. 11, 2017, Perdomo and a conspirator arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport on a flight from Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Both passengers brought neck pillows with them onto the flight as carry-on items.

During a routine Customs and Border Protection (CBP) screening of baggage at Newark Liberty International Airport, law enforcement discovered approximately three kilograms of cocaine sewn inside the neck pillows that Perdomo and his conspirator were carrying.

The count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine penalty carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a potential maximum of 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 12, 2018.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael; and officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, New York Field Office, under the direction of Acting Director of Field Operations Francis J. Russo, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari B. Fontecchio of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force / Narcotics Unit in Newark.

Defense counsel: Kevin Carlucci Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

Updated August 22, 2018

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Topic
Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 18-274