For the second time recently, a traveler arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport has been arrested on felony drug possession charges after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered a cache of illicit narcotics in his baggage.
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police officers arrested Joseph Claudio De Paula, a 50-year-old U.S. citizen from Vineyard Haven, Mass., on January 23.
De Paula arrived on a flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil shortly after 8 a.m., and a CBP officer referred De Paula to a secondary examination. During that examination, officers discovered 29 tablets of Morphine, 28 tablets of Codeine, 14 tablets of Bromazepam, nine tablets of Alprazolam, over 60 tablets of Tadalafil, one vial of steroids, and a small vial with cocaine residue concealed inside De Paula’s baggage.
Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) Police officers responded and took custody of De Paula and the illicit narcotics. De Paula faces felony narcotics possession charges.
This is the second CBP narcotics seizure recently that resulted in local criminal charges. On January 15, MWAA Police officers arrested rapper Victor Kwesi Mensah, a 28-year-old U.S. citizen from Chicago, after CBP offices discovered a cache of illicit narcotics in his baggage.
Despite some states decriminalizing certain personal quantities of illicit narcotics, travelers should be aware that narcotics possession remains illegal under federal law. Additionally, travelers should know that they are subject to CBP federal inspection upon arriving and departing the United States.
“Travelers should know that narcotics interdiction remains a Customs and Border Protection enforcement priority, and that if they are packing illicit, prohibited or unapproved narcotics in their baggage that they risk facing potentially life-changing felony criminal charges,” said Daniel Escobedo, Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Washington, D.C. “Best advice that CBP officers can give travelers is to know what they can and cannot bring to the United States and to sweep their baggage clean of anything that violates our nation’s laws.”