Union City man accused of trying to smuggle 30 pounds of cocaine in wheelchair
A Hudson County man is accused of trying to smuggle 30 pounds of cocaine concealed inside his electric wheelchair through a Baltimore airport.
United States Customs and Border Protection says that 34-year-old Union City resident Gabriel Ruiz was arrested at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshal Airport on June 20.
Officials say that Ruiz was referred to a secondary examination after arriving from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. During that examination, Customs agents X-rayed his Jazzy wheelchair and found 13 plastic-wrapped bricks of cocaine hidden in the chair’s seat and back cushions.
“Concealing dangerous drugs inside wheelchair seat cushions is unusual,” said Thomas Heffernan, Acting Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Baltimore. “Transnational criminal organizations work very hard to conceal their illicit drugs, but this cocaine seizure proves once again that Customs and Border Protection officers are up to the task of protecting our communities by finding the drug gangs’ creatively concealed contraband.”
Officials say that the drugs have an estimated street value of nearly $1 million.
Ruiz was turned over to the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.
'We're arresting the same people over and over again.' - News 12 sits down with NYPD chief to talk fight against gun violence