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Man who brought drugs into LAX hidden in candy faces up to 40 years in prison [Updated]

February 15, 2011 | 10:44 am

A Miami man has pleaded guilty to smuggling drugs into Los Angeles International Airport hidden in candy, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Esteban Galtes, 23, was arrested in December at LAX after federal agents searched his luggage and discovered more than 14 pounds of cocaine, much of it hidden in pastel-colored, egg-shaped candy.

[For the record, 11:17 a.m.: An earlier version of this post stated that Galtes was arrested in January. He was arrested in December.]

Galtes told authorities the candy was for his two children, officials said.

The remainder of the cocaine was hidden under the cardboard bottom of a paper shopping bag, authorities said. The seized cocaine has an estimated street value of more than $100,000.

Galtes was returning to the United States after a one-week trip to Colombia, authorities said.

He pleaded guilty to importing a controlled substance. He faces up to 40 years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney.


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Photo: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities said they intercepted a cache of cocaine hidden inside egg-shaped candy. Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection