Miami Man Pleads Guilty To Smuggling $100K In Cocaine Through LAX

LOS ANGELES (CBS) —  A Miami man pleaded guilty Monday of trying to smuggle $100,000 worth of cocaine into Los Angeles International Airport by hiding the powder in egg-shaped candy.

Esteban Galtes, 23, entered his plea to one count of importation of a controlled substance and faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 5 in Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Galtes was taken into custody at LAX last December upon his return from Colombia. His luggage was searched by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, who discovered more than 14 pounds of cocaine stashed in pastel-colored, egg-shaped candies, as well as hidden underneath the cardboard bottom of a shopping bag.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Sheth said the cocaine recovered at LAX was packaged “in a very sophisticated manner,” adding that “this isn’t your typical importation case.”

Sheth said the defendant had no ties to the Los Angeles area and few financial resources and had traveled to Colombia twice previously.

Galtes initially told officers the candy was for his two children, authorities said.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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