May 21st, 2010
12:28 PM ET

Man accused of smuggling 15 pounds of cocaine in candy

Officials say Robert Lopera tried to smuggle 15 pounds of cocaine in these chocolate candies and in pistachios.

Being a drug mule isn't usually such a sweet deal.

But authorities say it was sweet for Robert Lopera, who is accused of trying to smuggle in 15 pounds of cocaine concealed in chocolate candies and pistachios - until he was arrested at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 11.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped Lopera, a U.S. citizen, as he was trying to enter the country from Medellin, Colombia.

Lopera was selected for a baggage check, whereupon he handed over a suitcase and duffel bag.

According the to the complaint filed in the Eastern District of New York federal court, a customs officer found a gift package in the suitcase containing several boxes of chocolates and bags of pistachios. The bag seemed a little heavy for only candies and nuts.

Instead of their usual fate of being devoured, officials say, the Ferrero Rocher chocolates were poked and prodded until it was determined that they were filled with cocaine, as were the pistachio shells. Had these treats reached the streets, they could have brought close to $500,000.

Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are continuing to investigate the drugs' intended destination.

Lopera has been charged with illegal importation of cocaine and awaits federal prosecution.

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Filed under: Colombia • New York • U.S. • World
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. SmarterThanYOU

    The thing that scares me... is there a "Legal importation of cocaine"???

    May 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Yes, as it is used in several legal anasthetics

      May 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • EDDYmonet

      Yes there is actually. It is used as a topical anesthetic in many hospitals for certain surgical procedures. I had surgery for a deviated septum and I was administered Cocaine to dry the bleeding in my nose, numb it, and wake me from the general anesthetics. I definitely felt it when I woke up. Unless my doctor is a total quack, there is legal Cocaine for hospitals.

      May 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • LouAz

      Surely this nis just some mix up. Clearly he was delivering the cocaine to one of the suppliers of "Legal Cocaine".
      You know , Merck, Pfizer, Bayer, to be distibuted by your very own "legal Drug Dealer" . . . your Doctor !

      May 21, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • XD357Sig

      Yea, that's done by the CIA

      May 21, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • smugster

      Maaaaaaan – these candies taste horrible.....but I just can't stop eating them for some reason!

      May 21, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Desiree

      Yes, because cocaine can be used in certain medical situations. When I was in my teens, I started losing the ability to open my eyes fully. They were half shut all the time...the doctor suggested a test that required dropping cocaine in a liquid form into my eyes. If I regained the ability open them (which I did, almost immediately) then I would have a confirmed diagnosis.

      May 22, 2010 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • kay

      yes...back in the 1920's, everything had cocaine in it! from Coke, to cough suryp, mouthwash...everything! they felt it could cure most anything...guess they didnt figure on making drug addicts out of it.

      May 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TYC

    @ SmarterThanYOU

    "The thing that scares me... is there a "Legal importation of cocaine"???"

    Yep, cocaine is Schedule II and is legally available for prescription by a Doctor. It is seen as less of a threat by our government than marijuana, which is Schedule 1 alongside heroin and LSD. Makes perfect sense.

    May 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ernie

      Schedule is not simply an indication of danger. Schedule 1 are so classified because of potential for abuse and lack of medical application. Certainly heroin and LSD are abused and have no medical application. Marijuana is an oddball- can't really OD on it, some states allow it for medical use but it remains a schedule 1.

      May 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • AK47


      you said, "Certainly heroin and LSD are abused and have no medical application."

      .. You should really brush up on your history my friend. You are completely wrong.

      May 21, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • andy

      Pure cocaine is not available by prescription. There are other medcines made from chemicals in cocaine (ex. lidocaine,novacaine) but the Dr. can't prescribe actual cocaine. Also, the THC pill, meranol, is used to treat the symptoms people smoke pot for. Most just use the excuse to smoke weed.

      May 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Actually, LSD was tested extensively by Drs. Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert tested LSD extensively for its potential of "opening" patients during psychiatric sessions in the sixties, particularly with violent criminals. And just as the treatment was starting to show promise...LSD was classified as a Schedule 1 drug and this research was discontinued (oh, but the military did run some infamous tests during the same time period to ascertain its effects as a brainwashing agent).

      LSD is not physiologically addictive, FYI, nor is marijuana. Of the three drugs you mention, Cocaine has the greatest tendency to be abused.

      And heroin's close cousine morphine is used EVERY DAY in hospitals to treat severe pain.

      May 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chemist

      Lidocaine, novacaine and benzocaine do not come from Cocaine. They are purely synthetic. Making lidocaine is a classic undergraduate chemistry experiment.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • digr

      @andy – Cocaine is available by prescription, can be purchased by hospitals and pharmacies in tablets, in topical solutions, and can be used compounded as an ingredient into other prescriptions.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Soylent

      For maximum humor value, look at GHB. It's Schedule I, which by definition means it has no accepted medical value. Except the exact same drug, sold under the brand name Xyrem is Schedule III and used to treat narcolepsy. The exact same chemical is simultaneously held to have no accepted medical value and prescribed by doctors.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jill

      Lidocaine and Novacaine??? No freakin' way! I love learning new things...via cnn comment sections. : )

      May 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • vincimoriah

      CRAZY! Reading the comments under your post is like reading the front page of my wish list!!!!

      May 22, 2010 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. AntiWar

    So funny!!!
    This pinhead kept all the sweets in one big bag. No wonder he got captured!!! Angry Men No Brain!!!

    May 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • LeftCoaster

      Well, all the airlines are charging for extra bags these days...

      May 22, 2010 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
    • kathleen

      Actually , I thought they had dogs that sniffed that stuff out , surprised me that this was caught because the candy "seemed too heavy " .

      Also , reminds me of tales from Viet Vets . . . dealers used to prepackage marijuana in name brand cigarrete packages . You could get cartoons of Lucky Strikes or most any brand but the product was NOT tobacco !

      May 22, 2010 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. choclate lover

    Ferrero Rocher cholates are an expensive candy. I never bought any, just stuck to the cheaper ones. I used to love pistachios but only the shelled kind, since I don't have teeth to enjoy the nuts any longer I have to lay off of them. But I have to wonder how the hell he managed to fill just the shells. As for the candies, it had to be some real going to fill them with coke.

    those GD drug smugglers will go to any and all means to get their products on the streets. It's no mystery the destination of those "Imports." He is guilty as hell why the hold up with those legal beagles? Just imagine what those candies would do to the kids that got some of them.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • TToothaclau

      Choclate lover: Are you really so clueless about drug smuggling that you think the 15 lbs of Coke was intended for kids.....How many kids you know with Cocaine budgets? Not many duder, that ish is expensive. the candies were simply the mule, not the source of ingestion

      May 21, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • skippy

      This is what happens if you eat a whole chocolate full of cocaine...

      May 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      You guys say that it wasn't "intended" for children, but think of this: Just imagine what would have happened if a child thought it was actually candy! Drug users/packagers aren't exactly the smartest forms of life, so don't think that they would think to keep it away from the kiddies.

      May 21, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • roflstein

      RJ you are clearly mistaken.. If drug dealers arent the "smartest forms of life" how do you think billions upon billions of dollars worth of drugs get smuggled into the US every year? Chance? Luck? No kid was going to get ahold of this... the guy wouldnt waste his money. And as for LSD go look up "MK Ultra". Go see what your government has tested and forced upon people. The only reason drugs are totally illegal in a free country is because of the inability to come up with a reasonable way to tax ALL of it without looking like you condone the actions of taking drugs. And FYI your government has tested every drug out there on soldiers or other poeple to see if it can be militarized in any way. Gotta love it.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • skippy

      lol @ rj.

      Drug smugglers are not dumb people. They have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of product that they aren't looking to sell to kids. The smugglers aren't selling to kids. They are selling to a main distributor, that sells to smaller distributors, that sells to street pushers that sells to everyone.

      watch cocaine cowboys. You'll see how smart they are. Good times in the 80's in miami.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Are you really this stupid ?? come on... Join the real world will you

      May 22, 2010 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Nobody sells it to 'kids'. And there's way more chances that a kid will mistake a glass of vodka with water. And the concequences will be much worse than coke.

      May 22, 2010 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. choclate lover

    And considering where he and those "delights" came from, Columbia in South America . . . hey get real justice system hand the SOB.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • GuestDA

      It's Colombia, South America. There's Columbia, South Carolina and the Columbia River.

      May 21, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. choclate lover

    I meant to HANG not hand the SOB, unless you want to hand him over to ahhh outsider who know how to dal with his kind.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • skippy

      ^- good speller.

      May 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • choclate lover

      Thanks skippy, got a can of Bud in one hand and the mouse in the other, but I think I got the idea across.

      May 22, 2010 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. Will

    "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

    May 21, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gotta Love Ol G Dubbaya

      So many classic Bushisms. I love it Will

      May 21, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JamieinMN

    My favorite!

    May 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sampson

    The candy is dandy

    May 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobby

      we are not drug dealers! we are FUNDRAISERS!!!

      May 21, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MagicB

    choclate lover,, "Just imagine what those candies would do to the kids that got some of them." Come On Now!! Do you really think his intended purpose was to deliver the cane filled candies to kids? The candy is just a carrier to get through customs. Surely he intended on cutting-("diluting") the white stuff up so he could justify his profits and then sell it to a middle man distributor who probably has most of his client base("Not Kids") built in.

    May 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    I love these numbers the government throws out to back up the war on drugs. 15 pounds of blow worth $500,000??? Must be some fire.

    May 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • GuestDA

      How do you think they get their elastic budget...they gotta strech here and there to make it look like they're working.

      May 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • lola

      15 lbs of blow from Columbia is 15lbs of PURE coke that can and would have been cut and recut and recut again before it is sold on the street making it much MORE THAN 15lbs and VERY valuable. Trust me-nobody gets it in the purity coming in from Comunbia before it is cut....

      May 21, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • geckopelli

      Merck makes pure Cocaine– no one else.

      May 22, 2010 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. Steelman112

    Sounds like a type of racial profiling unless in the academy the officer learned how much chocolate and peanuts are supposed to weigh. We have alot bigger threats in our country to worry about.

    May 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • somesmartguy

      Packed cocaine should show up on the machines as much denser than anything that should be in chocolate.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt Burns

      Steelman112, you're an idiot. The guy was stopped, probably at random, at a checkpoint. Why does every moron on the planet think that every time someone of color is busted, it's "profiling"?! The guy has got to be an imbecile to come straight here from Medellin, Columbia! I laugh at people like you steelman. You bash the cops for everything they do, till YOU need em. Get a life. Not everything is based on race. I pity you.

      May 22, 2010 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
    • kay

      racial profiling?? the article said he was DID not specify if he was a black american, hispanic american or what other the hell can it be RACIAL profiling? maybe looking out because he was coming back from Columbia..but NOT racial..

      May 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. lawyer

    lol same thought crossed my mind "legal importation of cocaine"

    May 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TheDrugWarIsFAIL

    "those GD drug smugglers will go to any and all means to get their products on the streets. It's no mystery the destination of those "Imports." He is guilty as hell why the hold up with those legal beagles? Just imagine what those candies would do to the kids that got some of them."

    The smuggler used the candy to hide the cocaine in order to get past customs. I somehow doubt that's how the cocaine would have been distributed. And no, it wasn't put in the candy to "fool" the dumb American kiddies either.

    And to get it on the streets isn't hard at all. Takes very little effort. America is full of adults with plenty of extra cash to pay the outrageous markup of this product. At the end of the day all this amounts to is an expensive legal bill for the American taxpayer. 15 pounds is a mere drop in the bucket, this "bust" didn't prevent anyone from getting what they want.

    I don't mean to sound discouraging, but come on, 40 years, a trillion dollars and more Americans in prison than any other country in the world and now there's more and it's cheaper? Time to start thinking with our heads and not our hearts cause we all know the road to hell was paved with good intentions.

    May 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. qwerty all star

    description of the criminal please

    May 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheDrugWarIsFAIL

      . . . millions of Americans that like cocaine?

      May 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
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