A New Jersey man was arrested at the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered more than 30 pounds of cocaine concealed in his electric wheelchair.
Gabriel Ruiz, 34, was charged with felony narcotics importation and possession charges on June 21. The drugs were detected after Ruiz’s arrival from Punta Cana, Dominican Republican. While going through a secondary examination, agents found anamolies in the back of the wheelchair prompting a more thorough search.
The agents extracted 13 plastic-wrapped cocaine bricks weighing a total of around 30 pounds with an estimated street value of nearly $1 million. Acting Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Baltimore Thomas Heffernan said:
“Concealing dangerous drugs inside wheelchair seat cushions is unusual, transnational criminal organizations work very hard to conceal their illicit drugs, but this cocaine seizure proves once again that Customs and Border Protection officers are up to the task of protecting our communities by finding the drug gangs’ creatively concealed contraband. CBP officers and agents seized an average of 4,732 pounds of dangerous drugs every day at our nation’s air, land and sea ports of entry.”