Meth Candy Bars Seized at LAX; Rogelio Mauricio Harris Arrested
Kids, we know you're hooked on the energy drinks. But have you ever tried a meth bar?
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced today that one Rogelio Mauricio Harris, 34, has a date in court this afternoon after he allegedly tried to board a plane at LAX with four pounds worth of meth candy bars in his baggage:
The bust was made Friday at LAX by CBP agents who singled the suspect out for further inspection after eyeing a large box of chocolate bars -- apparently
Mars- Snickers-brand -- in his luggage, according to a CBP statement.
The 45 bars, agents say, contained chocolate-coated meth. Harris was headed for Japan, the CBP says.
Listen up, people of Japan: if you thought regular American candy was bad for your teeth, just wait.
Harris was quickly charged with suspicion of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. He could face 10 years if convicted.
The bars, with nearly four pounds worth of meth, would have been worth nearly a quarter-million dollars in Japan, federal officials stated.
Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations in L.A. states:
This scheme involved considerable planning and preparation and it shows the lengths to which smugglers will go in an attempt to elude detection.
There seems to be an overseas market for LAX-outbound meth. According to a CBP statement:
Other recent attempts have involved concealing the contraband in Easter eggs, snack food bags and cans of refried beans.
And they say America doesn't make stuff the world wants anymore?
[Update at 3:28 p.m.]: According to the feds' criminal complaint against Harris, CBP agents were a little suspicious from the get-go because he purchased his ticket for Delta flight 283 with cash and was scheduled to return quickly -- today, in fact.
Agents set off to inspect his checked luggage, a rolling suitcase, and discovered the box of bars, according to the complaint. A metal probe was poked through the chocolate and, alas, the white substance that later tested positive for meth was found, feds alleged.
Harris was tracked down on a "jet way" as he was about to board the plane, according to the complaint. When asked for ID, the complaint states, he offered a passport that was stamped with these words:
The bearer is abroad on an official assignment for the United States Government.
Turns out Harris told CBP agents that he was a U.S. Navy military police officer who was less-than-honorably discharged for marijuana use, according to the complaint.