KENNEDY AIRPORT — Two men have been charged with drug possession and conspiracy after more than 22 pounds of heroin worth over $1 million were found beneath the false bottom of a crate containing a dog shipped from Puerto Rico to New York City, the Queens district attorney said.
“It is alleged that man’s best friend was used in an attempt to smuggle drugs into the city,” said DA Richard Brown. “But great police work led to the seizure of more than 10 kilograms of heroin concealed within a dog crate. The defendants are alleged to have conspired to bring the drugs to New York City and elsewhere.”
Brown identified the defendants as Samuel Seabrooks, 35, of the Bronx and Carlos Betancourt-Morales of Carmel, N.Y., in Putnam County.
Brown said that according to the charges, Seabrooks and Betancourt-Morales met at a Bronx IHOP restaurant around 6 p.m. last Friday, then drove separately to American Airlines Priority Parcel Service at John F. Kennedy Airport, arriving about 7 p.m. The two men had a brief discussion after which Betancourt-Morales signed an American Airlines air waybill delivery receipt authorizing him to accept a crate containing an Avi Labrador Mix dog.
Betancourt-Morales was stopped by police as he was pushing the crate toward a building exit. A court-authorized search revealed 10 packages of heroin, the DA said.
Seabrooks and Betancourt-Morales were charged with possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy before Queens Criminal Court Judge Gia Morris, who set bail at $500,000 bond/$250,000 cash.
The accused were ordered to return to court April 10. If convicted, the defendants could both face up to 20 years in prison, Brown said.