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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 10, 2021

Peruvian Woman Admits Smuggling Seven Kilos of Cocaine into United States through Newark Airport

NEWARK, N.J. – A Peruvian woman today admitted smuggling approximately seven kilograms of cocaine into the United States from Peru, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Yolanda Fonseca Melgarejo, 59, a legal permanent resident of the United States and a citizen of Peru, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to an information charging her with one count of importation of controlled substances.

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

Fonseca Melgarejo arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport aboard a flight from Lima, Peru, on March 31, 2019.  Law enforcement officers discovered that Fonseca Melgarejo possessed approximately seven kilograms of cocaine concealed within wrapped chocolate candy in her luggage.

The count to which Fonseca Melgarejo pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a potential maximum penalty of life in prison, and a maximum fine of $10 million dollars. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 14, 2021.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina; and officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, New York Field Office, under the direction of Acting Director of Field Operations Marty Raybon, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey Agnew of the Organized Crime and Gangs Unit in Newark.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
21-260
Updated June 10, 2021