NEW YORK (AP) - Authorities say a lost-luggage handler ran an Ecuador-to-New York City smuggling ring that disguised drugs in chocolates and cocaine-soaked scuba diving certificates.
They allege 39-year-old Jorge Guerrero (guh-REHR'-oh) arranged to ship innocent-looking but drug-laden packages on cargo planes from Guayaquil, Ecuador, to New York's Kennedy Airport.
Guerrero, his wife and four others pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and other charges Tuesday. His lawyer said none of the seized drugs were recovered from Guerrero's home.
Seized shipments included sugar and oatmeal cookies packed atop a pound of cocaine, chocolate candies laced with half a pound of heroin and a stack of diving course diplomas that had been drenched in more than three pounds of cocaine, which was apparently to be extracted later.