U.S. Customs and Border Patrol arrested a U.S. citizen traveling from the Dominican Republic on March 4 after agents noticed him "busting out of his pants" and quickly figured out the reason when they conducted a private search.
When Juan Carlos Galan Luperon arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City and attempted to pass through customs, agents quickly realized he was acting in a nervous manner and that his pants were a little bit tight on him, CBP said in a press release.
That's when they searched him and say they found he was carrying roughly 10 pounds of cocaine, valued at more than $164,000, in a number of packages taped around both of his legs. Luperon had been on a flight from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
"Fortunately this is not the first time U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in New York have seen this concealment method," the agency stated.
Luperon was arrested and sent to Homeland Security Investigations, where he will face federal charges of smuggling narcotics.
"This seizure is another example of our CBP officers being ever vigilant in protecting the United States from the distribution of these illicit drugs," said Leon Hayward, acting director of CBP's New York Field Operations.
In 2014 and 2015, around 15 percent of cocaine smuggled into the U.S. went through the Caribbean, according to Business Insider. The Dominican Republic accounts for approximately 6 percent and has been identified by the State Department as "an important transit country for illicit drugs," according to Fox News.
"The country is experiencing an increase in narcotics-related violence, partially attributable to the practice of drug-trafficking organizations paying local partners in narcotics, which leads to the development of local drug gangs that engage in violent turf battles to control domestic drug distribution," the department said in its 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.
The findings predicted the Caribbean would become one of the main routes for drug trafficking, as stricter border enforcement and other efforts to curb smuggling from Central America and Mexico took effect. But the opposite was found to be true in that year's report, with an increase in the proportion of drugs being smuggled through Mexico and Central America.
Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama are the main producers and/or trafficking routes for drugs smuggled into the U.S. through the region, the report said.