CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) — An arriving passenger at Charlotte Douglas International Airport arrived on Tuesday with more than just a rolling electric wheelchair when met by United States Customs and Border Protection officers.
Alexander A. Lopez-Morel, 22, arrived in Charlotte on a flight from the Dominican Republic and met CBP officers using an electric wheelchair to conceal packages of a white powdery substance, federal officials said.
Lopez-Morel is a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
After going under 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 tested positive for cocaine.
“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 reaching our communities.”
A total of four packages containing more than 23 pounds of cocaine discovered inside the wheelchair have an estimated street value of $378,000.
CBP officers placed Lopez-Morel under arrest and the cocaine and wheelchair were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations special agents, Queen City’s Border Enforcement Security Team and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for further investigation.
Lopez-Morel was charged with felony trafficking in cocaine.