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Rhode Island man sentenced for trying to smuggle heroin in juice boxes

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Rhode Island man sentenced to 70 months in prison for trying to smuggle $500,000 worth of heroin through Dulles Airport
  • Man's luggage had two crates of juice boxes, but a Customs and Border Protection officer noticed the boxes didn't contain liquid
  • The suspect said powder in the boxes - which was wrapped in condoms - could be dissolved to make fruit juice
  • Authorities tested the powder and found it was heroin

Washington (CNN) -- A Rhode Island man has been sentenced to 70 months in prison for trying to smuggle half-a-million dollars worth of heroin through Dulles International Airport, concealed in juice boxes, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Homeland Security Investigations.

I.C.E. officials said Emmanuel Rios, 23, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to distribute heroin. According to court documents, Rios arrived at Dulles in suburban Washington on a flight originating in Guatemala. Customs and Border Protection agents discovered two tiny crates in Rios' luggage containing Incaparina juice boxes. Each of the two crates had 24 separate juice boxes bundled together. The C.B.P. officer noticed the packages did not contain a liquid. Instead, they contained a light brown powdery substance wrapped in condoms.

Documents said Rios claimed the powder could be dissolved in water to become a fruit juice. But the powder was tested and found to be heroin. The officers collected 41 condom-wrapped pellets, which contained a total weight of 4,974 grams of heroin -- a street value of approximately $500,000.