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Officials Seize Cocaine Hidden in Unexpected Location

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Some people will go to great lengths to hide illegal possessions, including stashing them in a wheelchair.

A man was arrested by federal authorities at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, for concealing more than 23 pounds of cocaine in the seat cushions of a motorized wheelchair.

Alexander Antonio Lopez-Morel arrived at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport from the Dominican Republic and was approached by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Lopez-Morel was supposed to continue to fly to Newark, New Jersey, after his layover in Charlotte.

“His answers didn’t match up. His physical purported handicap did not match up. That was a tell-tale sign that there was something suspicious,” said Mike Prado, a Homeland Security Investigations deputy special agent.

In total, four packages of cocaine were discovered within the seat cushions. The estimated street value of the drugs is around $378,000.

The 22-year-old man that was arrested for the incident was charged with trafficking cocaine into the U.S. Despite the charge, the man was a lawful, permanent resident of the United States.

The Charlotte airport has become a hotspot destination for drug dealers because of the city’s size and location on the East Coast. Since 2021, authorities have seized $5.7 million and several pounds of fentanyl, cocaine, meth and marijuana from the airport.

Source: https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cbp-officers-find-23-pounds-cocaine-wheelchair

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