Federal agents find meth concealed in frame of religious artwork

Federal agents find meth concealed in frame of religious artwork

Wa;tter WhiteCall it the Breaking Bad Syndrome. Enterprising crooks, inspired by the antics of Walter White, the main character in the AMC hit series, have searched for new and unique strategies for smuggling drugs. This year alone, federal agents have seized caches of cocaine secreted in makeshift adult diapers and in the would-be smuggler’s vagina. In one of the most clever ruses, a mother attempted to transfer oxycodone to her son in prison by kissing him on the lips during a visit.

The latest exposed effort at smuggling comes of the hometown of yours truly, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Homeland Security Investigations agents discovered about one kilogram of methamphetamine hidden in the frames of religious artwork, according to an affidavit filed in a federal criminal case and unsealed today.

Prosecutors filed the affidavit in support of smuggling charges against Carmelo Rojas-Perez, who lived in Oakland. On Thursday, he waived a hearing at which he could have challenged his detention in the Allegheny County Jail.

According to an affidavit, customs agents at a FedEx hub in Memphis last week searched a package from Toluca, Mexico, which was addressed to a mail drop. The package contained two pieces of art — one depicting the Virgin Mary and another of an unidentified saint.

But the real attraction of the works was not their devotional value but the kilo of meth hidden in their frames, secreted within “long black wrapped rectangular packaging … in hollowed out sections,” according to the affidavit.

Customs officials resealed the package and turned it over to Homeland Security. Agents with DHS, posing as FedEx workers, delivered the package to the address, where it was retrieved by Rojas-Perez. Three hours later, agents executed a search warrant of his apartment. They found the unopened parcel, along with a picture identical to one of those in the parcel on a table by the defendant’s bed.

FedEx records indicate that a similar package was shipped from Toluca to the same address a week earlier.

Rojas-Perez confessed that he was a citizen of Mexico who had been living in the United States without legal status for about 20 years.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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