Woman Attempts to Smuggle $450K Worth of Cocaine in Wheelchair at NY Airport

Emelinda Paulino De Rivas was arrested at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York City on November 10 after custom officers discovered a wealth of cocaine hidden inside of her wheelchair.

US Customs and Border Protection says that De Rivas arrived at JFK on a flight from the Dominican Republic on a wheelchair, and custom officers stopped her after realizing that the wheels “were not turning.”

After examining the chair, the agents found an “anomaly” in all four wheels, discovering 28lbs of cocaine hidden within them.

That amounts to about $450,000 in street value (around 75,000 100 to 200-mg doses; about 6,000 lethal doses).

De Rivas was arrested for importing a controlled substance and put in the custody of Homeland Security Investigations. She will now face narcotics smuggling charges, and will be prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office in NY.

This is the second time in the past few months that cocaine has been found hidden in a wheelchair. In September, a drug-sniffing dog alerted police at Milan’s Malpensa airport, and they discovered about 30lbs inside of that wheelchair. His illegal haul was worth about $1.6 million.