(COURTESY: CBS 2/ KCAL 9)
A Long Beach, CA man was arrested Friday as he attempted to board a flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo with 45 bars of chocolate-coated meth. The drugs were individually wrapped in plastic, covered in chocolate and disguised as snickers bars. Agents apparently tested the bars and discovered a white crystal like substance, which was determined to be methamphetamine. According to the LA Weekly, Rogelio Mauricio Harris, 34, was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers as he attempted to board Delta flight 283 from LAX to Tokyo. Harris arose suspicions because his ticket was paid for in cash and he was planning a quick turn around trip. The drugs totaled 1,900 grams, which is just over four pounds and would fetch an estimated $250,000 (19,546,000 yen) in Japan. Attempting to smuggle drugs in food in my opinion is not the smartest tactic as in most cases officials will target those items right away due to agriculture or health concerns. I seem to recall the not so publicized major drug bust back in May of this year at Tokyo Haneda International airport in which three U.S. citizens attempted to smuggle 11 kilos of stimulant drugs in 30 boxes of smoked salmon (read here). I guess “Keister Stashing” is limited to small quantities only.
During questioning Harris produced his passport and it apparently had a stamp stating that he was on official Government business.
In a quote from KCAL 9 news Harris’s passport read:
“The bearer is abroad on an official assignment for the United States Government.”
Apparently his fall from grace began last year when he was relieved of duty as Navy Military Police Officer due to drug usage. Harris received an Other than Honorable dishonorable discharge from the United States Navy.
In a quote from the KCAL 9 news:
“Other than honorable discharged after testing positive for marijuana.”
During further questioning by authorities, Harris was a bit confused with his geography and allegedly stated that he was going to Japan to visit his girlfriend in Hong Kong, CBP officers then proceeded to inform him that Hong Kong was not located in Japan and Harris’s response was he thought they were located in the same place. Not what I would expect from someone that served in the Navy. Harris is charged with possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) with possible intent to distribute. The charge potentially carries a minimum of 10 years or a maximum penalty of life in prison. I wonder if he will face additional charges such as carrying falsified credentials or a forged passport.
Meth Candy Bars Seized at LAX; Rogelio Mauricio Harris Arrested (LA Weekly)
Long Beach Man Accused Of Smuggling Meth Candy Bars (CBS 2/KCAL 9)
Man tried to smuggle meth to Japan as Snickers bars, feds say (LA Times)