Heroin Smuggled Into U.S. in Juice Boxes

Monday, Dec 21, 2009  |  Updated 6:00 PM EDT
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Heroin Smuggled Into U.S. in Juice Boxes

How far would you go to get it?

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Wondering what beverage to serve with your chicken cordon blow? How about juice?

A man arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport from Guatemala was found carrying more than 11 pounds of heroin hidden inside juice boxes, according to customs officials.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent said in a sworn statement that the heroin has a value of up to $600,000 on the streets of Washington, the Washington Examiner reported.

Court documents state Emmanuel Rios was traveling on a U.S. passport when he flew from Guatemala to Dulles on a TACA Airline flight on Dec. 13 and was selected for a routine inspection by a border patrol officer.

Inside Rios' luggage, the officer found 24 boxes of a vitamin-packed juice often served to children suffering malnutrition bundled together, the Examiner reported. The officer could feel that the boxes were packed with something other than vitamins. Instead, a light-brown powdery substance wrapped in a condom was inside, according to court documents.

When he was questioned about the powder, Rios reportedly told authorities "it is a fermented juicy powder that you dissolve in water to drink as fruit juice," the statement said. He said he bought the juice boxes for a friend at a flea market in Guatemala City the morning before he left that country.

Rios' attorney, Douglas Steinberg, declined to comment.

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