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Women charged with trying to sneak cocaine hidden in syrup at LAX

February 8, 2012 |  6:34 pm

A woman and her daughter have been charged with trying to smuggle cocaine hidden in pouches of syrup and salad dressing as they passed through Los Angeles International Airport, federal authorities said Wednesday afternoon.

Josefa Puertas-Lopez and daughter Cristina Jazmin Quintero-Puertas, who live in Spain, were carrying 4.7 kilos of chocolate and caramel syrup and salad dressing containing cocaine, according to records filed in federal court in Los Angeles.

The drug allegedly was inside plastic bags that were hidden in pouches that contained the syrup and salad dressing.

Federal authorities said a customs officer became suspicious when he saw the pouches.

"The pouches felt unusually thick," Matthew Hernandez, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, said in an affidavit filed with a criminal complaint.

The two women told authorities that they flew from Spain to Columbia, where they picked up the drugs and were planning to deliver them to a contact person in Australia, according to the affidavit. Their flight passed through LAX.

The daughter said she agreed to transport the coke, for which she and her mother would be paid $10,000 Euros each, because she needed money to move out of the "barrio," according to the affidavit.

She allegedly had transported drugs once before for a man in Spain, who was the same person she was working for when she and her mother was apprehended at LAX, the affidavit states. The daughter said she convinced her mother to come with her so she would look less suspicious.


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-- Andrew Blankstein (twitter.com/anblanx) and Robert J. Lopez (twitter.com/LAJourno)

Photo: Los Angeles International Airport in July 2010.

Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times