By Aaron Blevins, 8/02/2012
A Long Beach man was arrested last week after he allegedly attempted to smuggle more than four pounds of methamphetamine out of the U.S. packaged to resemble a well-known brand of candy bar.
Rogelio Mauricio Harris, 34, was taken into custody Friday afternoon by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at Los Angeles International Airport as he prepared to board a flight to Japan.
The arrest came after officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducting routine baggage inspections became suspicious of what appeared to be a large box of candy bars inside Harris’ checked luggage. Upon closer inspection, CBP officers discovered the 45 individually wrapped, full-sized “candy bars” which contained a white substance that was subsequently determined to be methamphetamine. According to the criminal complaint, each bar “was coated in a chocolate-like substance to make the contents of the package appear to be a real candy bar.”
Harris is charged in a federal criminal complaint with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
The phony candy bars contained approximately 1,900 grams or just more than four pounds of methamphetamine. HSI agents say the seized contraband would have sold for as much as $250,000 on the street in Japan.