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Man tried to smuggle meth to Japan as Snickers bars, feds say

July 30, 2012 |  2:28 pm

A Long Beach man has been charged by federal authorities with trying to smuggle more than four pounds of methamphetamine from Los Angeles to Japan in what looked like  Snickers bars, officials said Monday.

Rogelio Mauricio Harris, 34, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations while preparing to board a flight to Japan.

Harris faces a charge of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. If convicted, he faces at least 10 years in prison and a possible maximum sentence penalty of life in prison. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

The agents were conducting routine baggage inspections when they noticed a large box labeled as Snickers bars inside Harris’ checked luggage and discovered 45 individually wrapped, full-sized "candy bars."

Each “was coated in a chocolate-like substance to make the contents of the package appear to be a real candy bar," officials said. Agents tested the bars and found they contained "a white, crystalline substance" determined to be methamphetamine, the agency said in a statement.

All told, the contraband candies contained four pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of about $250,000 in Japan, the agency said. 

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-- Andrew Blankstein 

Follow Andrew Blankstein on Twitter and Google+.

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