Two Spirit Airlines passengers face charges of attempted drug smuggling after bricks of Cocaine were found wrapped in frozen sea snails in their carry-on luggage during routine screening at St Croix Airport in the US Virgin Islands.
Edward Saldana, 36, and Bianca Torres, 34, have been charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine. If found guilty, the pair must serve at least five years behind bars and up to 40 years imprisonment, along with a maximum fine of $5 million each.
Prosecutors allege Saldana and Torres were caught after they attempted to board a Spirit Airlines flight to Fort Lauderdale on January 23 when their hand luggage was flagged for further inspection after passing through an x-ray machine.
Both Saldana and Torres were traveling with cooler bags filled with frozen conch, but what caught the attention of the security officers was an ‘anomaly’ amidst the sea snails.
After pulling the cooler bags for closer inspection, the security officers found four solid white ‘bricks’ within the cooler bag belonging to Torres. The powder-like substance was field tested and it was discovered to be Cocaine.
Four kilograms of Cocaine was recovered from Torres and a further four kilograms of Cocaine was discovered in the cooler bag belonging to Saldana.
In an affidavit filed in district court, investigators allege that Torres was to be paid $3,000 to smuggle the Cocaine for Saldana. Flight records reveal this was the fifth time in just over six months that they couple had flown between St Croix and Fort Lauderdale.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.