Boston, MA – As if airport screening with TSA wasn’t frustrating enough for the disabled and elderly. A man has been arrested for intentionally trying to enter the country with just under four kilograms, or slightly over eight pounds, of cocaine in the frame and tires of the wheelchair he was occupying. He did not require the chair for any obvious medical reason. It was simply a Trojan horse for the cocaine. The man went as far as to wear a medically unnecessary cast in hopes of pulling off the deception.
Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant. The powdered hydrochloride salt form of cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and then injected. It increases levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with many functions including: important roles in behavior and cognition, voluntary movement, motivation, punishment, and reward, inhibition of prolactin production, sleep, mood, attention, working memory, and learning.
The Boston Globe reports that on Friday, 33-year-old Emmanuelli Rojas-Moraza of Puerto Rico attempted to traffic drugs into the United States, entering at Logan International Airport. An ‘anomaly’ had been detected by Customs at the international terminal, when they X-rayed the wheelchair. Authorities disassembled the wheelchair, finding a suspicious white powder that later tested positive for cocaine.
CBS Boston notes that Rojas-Moraza was arraigned Christmas Eve in the East Boston District Court on one count of drug trafficking. A not guilty plea was entered and Judge Tracy Lee Lyons assigned $45,000 cash bail.
Punishments in Massachusetts for trafficking drugs vary depending on the amount and type of substance that you are accused of trafficking. In Massachusetts you can be charged with trafficking cocaine, or possess with the intent to distribute, if you have 14 grams or more of cocaine.
If you calculate pounds to grams, Rojas-Moraza was detained with roughly 4000 grams in his possession. If convicted of trafficking cocaine in Massachusetts there is a minimum mandatory state prison sentence. The length of the sentence varies depending on the quantity of cocaine that you have been convicted of trafficking. In Rojas-Moraza’s case, he could be subject to 15 to 20 years in a state prison on felony drug trafficking charges. That is based on if a person is caught trafficking 200 or more grams. Rojas-Moraza will return to court on January 7, 2013.