WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized more than $80,000-worth of cocaine that was concealed inside caramel sweets Wednesday.
A Honduran woman traveling from El Salvador had a brown cone-shaped package wrapped in cellophane she said contained eight caramelized sugar cane sweets from Honduras. An officer poked one of the sweets with a knife and discovered white, powdery substance on the blade that field-tested positive for cocaine, according to a Customs and Border Protection news release.
When the officer inspected the rest of the sweets, they found cocaine in all of the candies. The total weight of the cocaine was slightly less than 1 pound, 10 ounces. The cocaine could have a street value of more than $80,000, according to Customs and Border Protection.
“Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport have proven to be exceptionally skilled at discovering unique concealment methods, and this seizure is illustrative of that skill,” Wayne Biondi, director for the Port of Washington, said in a statement.
“CBP officers remain ever vigilant at intercepting illicit narcotics before it can hurt our families and communities.”
During fiscal year 2013, which spans Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013, customs agents at Dulles Airport intercepted a little more than 12 pounds of cocaine in four seizures.
The woman — whose name has not yet been released — requested entry into the country as a courier on business. It is routine to have secondary examinations of packages from a courier, according to CBP.
After interviews, CBP says officials were satisfied she was a courier. CBP processed her immigration and she was returned abroad later Wednesday.
The woman is not allowed to return to the U.S. for a minimum of five years.
“Every day at Washington Dulles International Airport, we welcome thousands of legitimate business travelers to the United States,” Biondi said in the release. “But this is one type of business that we just can’t allow into the U.S.”