Man Arrested for Cocaine in Chicken

Man traveling from El Salvador to U.S. was arrested for drugs in cooked chicken.

Dec. 5, 2009— -- Wagner Mauricio Linares Aragon allegedly likes his chicken with coke, but it's not what you may think.

Customs officials say the 32-year-old Guatemalan citizen was detained at Dulles International Airport in McLean, Va., last Saturday after authorities found 60.4 grams of cocaine inside a fully-cooked chicken he was carrying on a flight coming from El Salvador.

When inspectors examined the cooked poultry, they found a white powdery substance inside two small plastic bags stored inside the chicken's cavity.

The drugs have a street value of about $4,300, officials said.

While unusual, last weekend's episode is certainly not rare. In fact, one may be surprised at the lengths people continue to go to conceal narcotics.

In March, officials arrested two passengers, also arriving from El Salvador, after finding seven kilograms -- or 16 lbs -- of cocaine packed in six boxes of chicken noodle soup mix.

And the smugglers that get caught don't always fit the stereotype.

"It's not like there's a profile," said Steve Sapp, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection. "These are people of all sizes and ages."

In June, authorities arrested a 70-year-old woman flying from Germany for bringing in 220 grams -- about half a pound -- of marijuana taped inside pages of a Der Spiegel magazine.

Her explanation? Anna Maria Faris, a legal permanent resident of the United States, told authorities the magazines were research material for a book she was writing on Germany.

And a year ago, officials stopped a 24-year-old man because he was wanted in New York for an outstanding charge of parole violation, only to discover he was carrying teabags packed with marijuana.

"These people know for certain it's illegal to bring it in the country," Sapp said.

Drug cartels are still recruiting people to become so called "mules" by having them swallow condems stuffed with drugs just before boarding a flight to the U.S. where they are met and taken to a safe house until they pass the drugs out of their system.

Smuggling drugs into the U.S. concealed in art is also another unique technique. To the naked eye, a religious plaque of the Virgin Mary may have been just that, but authorities found the plaque's compartment was lined with aluminum foil and carbon paper containing white powder discovered to be cocaine.

And just a few days ago, border agents found 385 pounds of cocaine worth a whopping $12 million hidden in a spare tire, which was concealed within an audio speaker box, which was, in turn, hidden in a tool box mounted on the front of a trailer.