By Sadef Ali Kully
JAMAICA — A passenger on an incoming flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport was caught allegedly smuggling heroin inside of a bottle of a traditional Dominican drink Jan. 6, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said.
CBP officials said Rosa de Ortega arrived from Santiago, Dominican Republic, with one checked suitcase for inspectors. During the inspection, CBP officers said a bottle of Mamajuana felt unusually heavy.
According to the CBP, Mamajuana is a drink from the Dominican Republic comprised of tree barks and herbs soaked in rum, red wine, and honey in a bottle. The taste is similar to port wine and the color is a deep red.
CBP officers opened the bottle to find 32 pellets, which tested positive for heroin, according to CBP officials. In total, the 32 pellets weighed an estimated one pound and had an estimated street value of $27,000.
De Ortega, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was arrested and turned over to the NYPD. She faces state narcotics smuggling charges by the Queens district attorney’s office, according to the CBP.