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Authorities Arrest Passenger at Newark Airport Attempting to Smuggle 4.5 Pounds of Cocaine


NEWARK, N.J. – On October 23, 2020, Le’andre Kemont Jefferson, a United States citizen, arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and presented himself for inspection.  During the examination of Jefferson’s luggage, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers discovered 12 vacuum-packed bags, wrapped in foil, and further concealed inside clothing.

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Upon probing the vacuum-packed bags, a white, powdery substance was produced that subsequently tested positive for cocaine.  In total, CBP seized approximately 4.5 pounds of cocaine, with an approximate street value of $62,000.  Mr. Jefferson was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further investigation and was later charged with one count of importation of controlled substances by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey.

“CBP Officers must remain ever vigilant to prevent these dangerous drugs from entering our communities.  By working closely with our law enforcement partners, we are able to stop would-be smugglers,” said Troy Miller, Director of CBP’s New York Office of Field Operations.

"The ongoing COVID pandemic has not deterred our efforts to face the epidemic of drug trafficking," said Jason Molina, Special Agent in Charge, HSI Newark.  "This latest seizure of cocaine at Newark Airport shows that the collaborative investigative efforts of HSI and CBP are a force multiplier against the international drug trade."

All defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.