DEA Sting Uncovers $1 Million Of Meth Disguised As Phallic Candles

By Bryan Le 09/05/17

Thirteen hundred pounds of meth were discovered in the joint operation.

The DEA finds novelty candles filled with meth.
The immodest haul as photographed by the DEA. via Vice/DEA

The DEA caught five people who were allegedly smuggling methamphetamine into New York and New Jersey by disguising them as novelty candles, many of which were of a phallic nature. Other shapes included religious gag candles.

Authorities caught the five as they allegedly dropped off 1,300 pounds of the erotic narcotics in a New Jersey warehouse. The explicit candles, after melting them down to get at the drugs inside, would have uncovered 60 kilos of meth.

As part of a joint operation between the DEA, Homeland Security and the NYPD, an undercover officer met with one of the alleged smugglers, Agustin Zamora-Vega, posing as a buyer. The two reportedly discussed where Zamora-Vega’s crew could safely deliver the sensitive goods, at which point the officer attempted to direct the drugs to a location in Yonkers, New York.

Zamora-Vega denied the suggestion, finding the Yonkers location—for whatever reason—to be inappropriate for melting down the lewd candles. Eventually, Zamora-Vega and the undercover agent reportedly agreed on delivering the suggestive contraband to the fateful New Jersey warehouse.

While the DEA and its ilk are no strangers to the creative ways in which drug smugglers smuggle their goods from place to place, this five-membered machination managed to shock at least one federal agent.

“DEA has seen drugs smuggled in numerous ways: concealed in puppies, lollipops, furniture, and produce,” said DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt. “But secreting a million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine in wax candles of various shapes is shocking.”

Enterprising and creative drug smugglers have tried many schemes to get their goods into buyers’ hands. One woman was reportedly caught with a pair of burritos that were actually a little more than $3,000 worth of meth wrapped in tortillas. The attempt, which was foiled by drug-sniffing dogs, may seem humorously low-effort in its methodology. However, such schemes are surprisingly effective.

“Simplistic and low-key smuggling methods work all the time,” John, a convicted drug smuggler doing 20 calendars in the federal Bureau of Prisons told The Fix last year. “I did it for years by just basically putting it right in front of customs agents' faces. It was too obvious for them. If not for the dogs, they wouldn’t have gotten this girl.”

Others have tried disguised illicit substances as limes, or used catapults to simply launch their products across the border from Mexico into the United States. 

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter