QUEENS — A man who was flying from Trinidad to JFK Airport tried to smuggle more than 7 pounds of cocaine hidden in three packages of frozen meat last month, authorities said.
When Yudishtir Maharaj arrived in New York on March 20, U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspected the packages they found in his luggage.
They discovered white powder inside the meat, which tested positive for cocaine, authorities said.
Maharaj, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, was charged with importing a controlled substance, according to customs officials.
Anthony Bucci, a spokesman for the agency, said he wasn't sure what specifically caught the officers' attention when they inspected the packages.
"Going through inspections, the officers are looking for anything they feel is unusual," Bucci said. "It could be inconsistencies in the story, it could be the passenger exhibiting signs of nervousness, it could be based on information that we are looking for somebody, it could be just a 'cold stop.'"
Maharaj faces federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office, authorities said.
“This latest seizure demonstrates the vigilance of our CBP officers, and their excellence in detecting those who would try to smuggle these illegal substances,” said Robert Perez, director of field operations for the Customs and Border Protection in New York, in a statement.
Maharaj's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.