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Two Cocaine Smuggling Busts Occurred at JFK Three Days Apart


U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents announced two major smuggling arrests on back-to-back days at the same New York airport.

On Monday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the arrest of Janisha Amalee Atkins, who arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on a flight from Jamaica on September 19. The CBP took pains to note that Atkins “made quite the fashion statement” when she encountered officers. The agency discovered 3.7 pounds of cocaine — valued at more than $64,000 — concealed in Atkins’ designer handbags and platform shoes found in her luggage.

An agent inspecting Atkin’s luggage became suspicious after noticing two pairs of shoes and a purse that felt suspiciously heavy. Closer inspection revealed the items were packed with cocaine.

On Tuesday, the CBP released a statement detailing the arrest of Reynalda Leal Ricando, who agents say tried to enter the country from Mexico with 3.3 pounds of cocaine — valued at nearly $58,000 — hidden in food stored in her luggage. Ricando, a Mexican national, arrived at JFK on a flight from Mexico City on September 22.

The CBP pointed out that homemade food might not have been the best hiding place for contraband, noting Ricando “was referred to CBP agriculture specialists for an agricultural inspection after declaring food items.” It was the agriculture specialists who discovered that Ricando “had more than food to declare,” specifically the cocaine hidden in salsa containers Ricardo declared at customs.

[Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection]

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