A Guatemalan national confessed to smuggling heroin into the U.S. via Newark Liberty International Airport. He thought he would evade arrest by concealing the drugs in chocolate.
The Guatemalan national arrived as a passenger on a commercial airliner when he flew from Guatemala City to New Jersey on June 11. Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) searched his baggage and found six small cakes in wrapping. Upon closer inspection, they discovered he had small packages of heroin iced in chocolate.
On Thursday, 21-year-old Jacobo Leonel Orellana-Estrada pleaded guilty in federal court to transporting three kilograms of heroin into the United States. He had been charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin.
Orellana-Estrada is facing up to life in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is set for January 29.
As reported by Breitbart News early this year, heroin overdose deaths have more than tripled from 2010 to 2015. The national drug epidemic killed more than half a million Americans in the last 15 years. More than 47,000 died in 2014 from opioid and heroin overdoses.
A January release from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that “Heroin overdose death rates increased by 26 percent from 2013 to 2014 and have more than tripled since 2010,” Breitbart News reported,
President Donald Trump declared the battle against the nation’s opioid crisis to be a public health emergency. Breitbart News’ Charlie Spiering reported on October 26.
“For too long we have allowed drugs to ravage American homes, cities, and towns,” the president said. “We owe it to our children and to our country to do everything in our power to address this national shame and this human tragedy.”
The president also singled out China for manufacturing synthetic opioids like Fentanyl. He promised to address the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping when he travels to Asia next.
Breitbart News reported that heroin overdoses, and exposure to fentanyl sold as heroin, is not only killing Americans but endangering law enforcement officers exposed to it.
In May, an officer in Ohio used his bare hand to brush powder off of his shirt and had to be treated for an emergency overdose. As Breitbart Texas reported, East Liverpool Police Department Patrolmen Chris Green said that within minutes, “I started talking weird. I slowly felt my body shutting down.” “I could hear them talking, but I couldn’t respond. I was in total shock. ‘No way I’m overdosing,’ I thought.”
Police Chief John Lane said Officer Green was very fortunate. “If he would have been alone, he would have been dead,” he said. “That’s how dangerous this stuff is. What if he went home and got it on his family members?”
Fentanyl is reported to be 50-100 times stronger than morphine. Merely touching the drug can be fatal, Breitbart Texas reported in April.
“Fentanyl can kill you,” DEA Deputy Administrator Jack Riley advised in 2015. “Fentanyl is being sold as heroin in virtually every corner of our country. It’s produced clandestinely in Mexico, and (also) comes directly from China. It is 40 to 50 times stronger than street-level heroin. A very small amount ingested, or absorbed through your skin, can kill you.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Gab, and Facebook.