Guyana-born baggage handler arrested over JFK cocaine plot

Authorities in the United States recently busted a Guyana-born baggage handler attempting to smuggle cocaine through the JFK International Airport in New York.
In court documents seen by this newspaper, Special Agent Edward Gonzalez said that Marlon Joseph in October, together with others, knowingly conspired to possess and distribute cocaine in the US. He said that agents were investigating a narcotics importation conspiracy involving certain individuals who either worked or are working at JFK.
He said that Joseph, a lawful resident in the US who was employed with dnata, was busted after a confidential source started working with agents in February of this year and it was later learnt that five bricks of cocaine were expected on a Fly Jamaica Flight out of Guyana.
The flight arrived in the US on October 25th and following a sweep, agents placed a “blue drawstring bag containing five brick-like packages of ‘sham’ substance made to approximately resemble cocaine, in the cargo of the plane.”
Later, law enforcement officers observed an individual (identified as L.M in the documents) wearing a bright yellow jacket, beneath which he appeared to have a bulky object or bag on his back. The man entered the Terminal One parking garage and approached a Honda Accord, which was later discovered to be registered to Joseph, and removed the jacket, revealing the blue drawstring bag. He placed both into the trunk of the said vehicle.
Joseph later approached the vehicle and was in the driver’s side when agents approached it while L.M was in the passenger side. At that point, agents noticed two duct-taped packages in the shapes of shoe soles, located in the inside of the driver’s-side door, in an open compartment.
Gonzalez said based on his experience, he was aware that traffickers often package narcotics in shoe-sole packaging to bypass security checks. The packages were tested and weighed and amounted to approximately 1,151.6 grammes of cocaine.
The blue string bag with the sham cocaine that agents had placed in the cargo hold was also found in the trunk of the vehicle.
Joseph, when arrested, told agents that he had handled the bag and that he believed it to be cocaine and he removed same after asked by someone to do same.
Joseph appeared before Judge Sanket J. Bulsara and was granted bail in the sum of US$10,000 and is expected back in court on November 27th before the same judge.


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