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Man tried to smuggle cocaine in a chicken, police say

Washington Post editors

Chicken a la cocaine?

Federal officials say that was on the menu after a man tried to pass through customs at Dulles International Airport last Saturday carrying a fully cooked chicken.

“It’s the Thanksgiving holiday, and this guy is bringing in a chicken. You’d expect a turkey,’’ said Steve Sapp, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Officers grew suspicious, and they didn’t chicken out. They unwrapped the aluminum foil surrounding the bird, pulling apart legs and wings, dark meat and white. Inside the chicken’s cavity, they found two small, clear plastic bags, Sapp said.

The chicken in question. (U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.)

They were filled with a white powdery substance. It wasn’t sugar. Or stuffing.

The substance tested positive for cocaine, 2.3 ounces worth, with an estimated street value of $4,300, Sapp said. The Guatemalan man, Wagner Mauricio Linares Aragon, who had arrived on a flight from El Salvador, was arrested and has been charged wuth one count of transporting cocaine. He is expected to be deported after any prison time he serves, officials said.

It’s not the first time fliers have tried to play chicken with officers at the airport. Last year, Sapp said, a traveler from El Salvador was caught with what appeared to be seven boxes of chicken soup mix. Instead, the bags contained seven kilograms of cocaine.

“People try all different imaginative ways to conceal narcotics inside something else, and it’s up to the officers to have really keen instincts in searching for things,’’ Sapp said.

But this may have been the most innovative. “I’ve been on the job for more than two years here, and this is the first time I’ve seen a chicken stuffed with cocaine,’’ he added.

-- Jerry Markon

By Washington Post editors  |  December 4, 2009; 9:32 AM ET
Categories:  Jerry Markon , Narcotics , Offbeat  
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