28 pounds of cocaine found hidden inside wheelchair wheels, officials say

NEW YORK — A woman is facing charges after federal investigators said they found nearly half a million dollars’ worth of cocaine hidden in the wheels of her wheelchair at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

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Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release that officers said a woman landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport on a flight from Punta Cana, and was stopped after officers noticed her wheelchair wheels were not turning.

Officers then used an X-ray to examine the wheelchair, and noticed abnormalities in all four wheels. When officers looked closer, they found a white powder inside the wheels that tested positive for cocaine. CBP said the drugs weighed approximately 28 pounds and had a street value of $450,000.

The woman who was in the wheelchair, identified as Emelinda Paulino De Rivas, was arrested and faces federal drug smuggling charges.

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