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CLT customs officers find 23 pounds of cocaine in wheelchair

Bricks with weight_1.jpg
Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection
/
WFAE
CBP Officers at Charlotte Airport seized over 23 pounds of Cocaine hidden in a wheelchair

An arriving passenger at Charlotte Douglas International Airport arrived with more than just a rolling electric wheelchair when met by U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers.

CLT WheelChair_1.jpg
Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection
/
WFAE
CBP Officers at Charlotte Airport seized over 23 pounds of Cocaine hidden in a wheelchair

On Tuesday, Alexander A. Lopez-Morel; 22, arrived in Charlotte on a flight from the Dominican Republic. He was encountered by CBP officers as he was utilizing an electric wheelchair to conceal packages of a white powdery substance.

After he underwent further inspection by officers involving a closer examination of the motorized chair, CBP officers found the packages within the seat cushions containing the substance that field-tested positive for cocaine.

CLT WheelChair_2Web.jpg
Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection
/
WFAE
CBP Officers at Charlotte Airport seized over 23 pounds of Cocaine hidden in a wheelchair.

“This seizure demonstrates the dynamic border environment in which CBP officers operate at CLT.” said Barry Chastain, CBP Area Port Director Charlotte. “Our officers are determined to adapt and respond to these threats in an effort to stop narcotics from reaching our communities.”

A total of four packages containing over 23 pounds of cocaine discovered inside the wheelchair have an estimated street value of $378.000.00

CBP officers placed Lopez-Morel under arrest and the cocaine and wheelchair were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, Queen City’s Border Enforcement Security Team (BEST), and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for further investigation. Lopez-Morel was charged with felony trafficking in cocaine.

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Robb Crocker is a digital editor with WFAE. Originally from New Jersey, Robb grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where majored in print and broadcast journalism and also studied English and creative writing. He earned a Master's degree in Communication from Rutgers University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at VCU's Media, Art & Text program. He is a veteran news/sports reporter and digital editor with stints at the Washington Post, Hanley Wood magazines, Richmond.com, WTVR CBS 6 and WRIC ABC 8. He has also produced the Writing Our Way Out podcast.