Airline Crew Member Had Cocaine Worth $160,000 Taped To Legs, Arrested

A Fly Jamaica Airways crew member was caught after he allegedly tried to smuggle cocaine worth $160,000 through John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. According to reports Wednesday, the crew member had four packages of white powder taped to his legs.

The incident took place on St. Patrick’s Day when Hugh Hall, a resident of Jamaica, was caught with the secret stash, according to Customs and Border Protection officials. Authorities said Hall was arrested for importation of a controlled substance after the white powder tested positive for cocaine. Hall now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges.

“This seizure is another example of our CBP officers being ever vigilant in protecting the United States from the distribution of illicit drugs,” Acting Director of CBP’s New York Field Operations Leon Hayward said praising the customs officers, according to ABC7.

Hall will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District Court of New York.

Last year, a traveler was caught with cocaine taped to his legs at the JFK airport. Authorities identified the man as Mayobanex Ruiz Gomez, a citizen of the Dominican Republic who arrived at JFK on a flight from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He was caught when he showed signs of nervousness during customs inspection. After agents searched Gomez in a private room they found the cocaine. During the same time, another passenger, named Ariel Garcia, was also caught smuggling cocaine in a similar manner. 

Authorities said at the time that Garcia’s packages contained 11 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of more than $180,000.

“This latest seizure demonstrates our CBP officers being ever vigilant in protecting the United States from the distribution of these illicit drugs,” Hayward said last year.

Meanwhile, several other incidents have occurred in the past where passengers were caught smuggling cocaine, however, the involvement of a flight crew member is rare. 

In January, a woman faced drug smuggling charges after authorities found she tried to smuggle cocaine by hiding it in her suitcase. Tuere Easter was at the JFK airport when she was stopped by Customs and Border Protection officers. Two pounds of cocaine with a street value of more than $30,000 was found inside the woman’s suitcase.

JFK A Transportation Safety Administration officer stands at a passenger security checkpoint at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, Oct. 25, 2004. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

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