NEWARK, NJ — On Aug. 22, a man from the Dominican Republic admitted his role in a conspiracy to distribute three kilograms of cocaine by bringing the drugs into the United States concealed in airplane neck pillows, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Rafael Francisco Bautista Perdomo, 21, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark federal court to a superseding information charging him with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, on Oct. 11, 2017, Perdomo and a conspirator arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport on a flight from Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Both passengers brought neck pillows with them onto the flight as carry-on items.
During a routine Customs and Border Protection screening of baggage at Newark Liberty International Airport, law enforcement discovered approximately three kilograms of cocaine sewn inside the neck pillows that Perdomo and his conspirator were carrying.
The count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine penalty carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a potential maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 12.