Traveller from Guyana busted with cocaine in girdles at JFK

A man who attempted to smuggle some 3.360 kilogrammes of cocaine sewn into two girdles he was wearing was busted at the JFK Airport last Thursday, where he touched down on a Caribbean Airlines flight from Guyana.

Kenny Ritchie was busted after Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers at the New York airport selected him for a random search.

According to court documents, Ritchie, who told investigators that he was going to be paid US$8,000 for bringing the drugs to the US, was found with the drugs after his nervous demeanour made officers suspicious.

This latest bust again raises questions about the security at the Cheddi Jagan International Air-port, Timehri, which Richie would have had to clear before boarding the aircraft.

Richie told investigators that he had visited Guyana to work on a house his father had left for him.

Homeland Security Special Agent Derrick Bergman, in a sworn statement, said that Ritchie’s suitcase was presented for examination and nothing suspicious was found. However, during the conversation with the officers, he appeared nervous and avoided eye contact and this prompted the officers to conduct a pat down search of his person.

“During the pat down search, the officer felt a rigid object in the defendant’s groin area. Based on the location of this object, a body search was requested from and authorized by a supervising CBP officer. A further search of the defendant’s groin area revealed that the defendant was wearing two girdles, one of which had an object sewn inside. The object was probed revealing a white powdery substance that field-tested positive for cocaine,” Bergman said in his statement.

Ritchie was immediately read his Miranda rights which he said he understood and waived them.

He said that he knew that cocaine was concealed inside the girdle he was wearing and was to be paid for taking the drugs into the US. Richie has since been released on US$25,000 bail.

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