Police arrested two men attempting to use a dog to smuggle more than $1 million worth of heroin through John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City Friday.
Samuel Seabrooks, 35, and Carlos Betancourt-Morales, 27, traveled separately to the airport after meeting up at an IHOP to pick up a mixed-breed Shepherd and the dog’s crate, shipped to JFK Airport from Puerto Rico. Betancourt-Morales signed for the dog and crate at American Airlines Priority Parcel Services and attempted to leave before security apprehended him. Officers uncovered 10 bricks of heroin in a false bottom built into the base of the crate weighing roughly 22 pounds, reports FOX 5.
The heroin packages, estimated to be worth more than $1 million, bore the Nike swoosh logo and a stamp of a five pointed star. The pair face up to 20 years in prison for charges of drug possession and conspiracy.
“It’s alleged that man’s best friend was used in an attempt to smuggle drugs into the city, but great police work led to the seizure of more than 10 kilograms of heroin concealed within a dog crate,” Richard Brown, queens district attorney, said in a statement. “Statistics show that, unfortunately, heroin has made a comeback in New York City and its surrounding suburbs, with fatal overdoses outpacing homicides. This amount of heroin, when distributed at the street level, would jeopardize numerous lives and undoubtedly contribute to other crime.”
New York experienced a 135.7 percent increase in synthetic opioid and heroin deaths between 2014 and 2015.
In another bizarre incident at JFK Airport, a man overdosed on a plane sitting on a taxiway March 22, forcing the flight to return to the gate. The man allegedly ingested both heroin and an unspecified anxiety medication, a toxic combination that likely sparked the near-fatal incident.
The unidentified 24-year-old man, a resident of Bethpage, N.Y., was reportedly on his way to a rehab facility in Florida for addiction treatment.
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