One passenger arriving at JFK International Airport last week wanted a little more than alcohol in her drink — and this cocktail could have been deadly.
Rosa Almonte De Ortega was arrested on Jan. 6 for attempting to smuggle about $27,000 worth of heroin as she made her way into the United States from the Dominican Republic, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The 27-year-old arrived on a flight from Santiago, Dominican Republic and presented one checked-in rolling suitcase to be examined, authorities said.
During the examination, CBP officers found a bottle of Mama Juana — a Dominican alcoholic drink — which to them felt strangely heavy.
The Dominican Republic citizen was taken to a private search room where officers broke open the bottle and discovered a total of 32 pellets inside, weighing about 1 pound, and which later tested positive for heroin.
According to court records, De Ortega admitted that her brother-in-law asked her to take the bottle to a friend who would call her at noon and then would make arrangements to pick up the bottle.
“I didn’t know what was in the bottle, I am not getting paid for it,” she told investigators. “He gave it to me at my sister’s house with no special instructions, I put it on the kitchen table and then put it into my bag the next morning. “
De Ortega was arraigned on Jan. 7 on a charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance. Her next scheduled court date is on Jan. 13.