Cookie Monster The Drug Smuggler?

By Kelly Burch 07/13/17

A traffic stop led Florida police to find a lot more than cookies inside of a Cookie Monster stuffed animal.

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Police in Florida discovered a sinister spin on a popular children’s toy when they found 300 grams of cocaine stashed in a Cookie Monster stuffed animal

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, a police officer stopped a car after seeing that the license plate was obscured. During the traffic stop he noticed the smell of marijuana in the vehicle, which allowed him to search the car. It was then that he discovered a Cookie Monster stuffed animal inside of a backpack. 

The officer, Deputy Orey Swilley, noticed that the doll was heavier than he had expected. When he took a closer look, he saw a slit cut into the doll and two packages of cocaine stuffed inside. 

The driver of the vehicle, 39-year-old Key West resident Camus McNair, was arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine and drug equipment possession. According to The Miami Herald he was being held on $7,000 bond. 

Although the vessel for transporting the drug may have been unusual, seizures of cocaine in Florida are common. Florida Customs and Border Protection seized 61% more cocaine in 2016 than it did in 2015. Last year the Coast Guard reported that it seized a record amount of cocaine. 

DEA officials say that Colombia—said to produce 90% of the cocaine that comes into the United States—has increased production dramatically in recent years. 

“We’ve never seen cocaine production at these numbers, which tells you there is more cocaine being produced now than at the height of the Medellín and Cali cartels,” Justin Miller, intelligence chief for the DEA’s Miami field division, said last month. “That’s significant.”

Much of the cocaine smuggled into the U.S. comes by sea. Although the Coast Guard knows about most of the shipments, it lacks the resources to intercept them all. The agency “can only act on about 20% of that because of the resource constraints we have. We’re giving 60% of what we know, literally, a free pass,” Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul F. Zukunft said in a report. 

Cocaine traffickers have also been known to get creative. Earlier this year a man pretending to be a pilot was caught at New York’s JFK airport attempting to smuggle $85,000 worth of cocaine into the country. He was busted when customs officials noticed that his credentials looked fake, and that his bags were heavier than normal. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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