Crime

Concealed drugs in parcels from China uncovered at downtown Miami private postal office

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers show Molly pills that were logged into then released from evidence at their secret facility in Miami-Dade County. There is an imprint of Route 66 on them.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers show Molly pills that were logged into then released from evidence at their secret facility in Miami-Dade County. There is an imprint of Route 66 on them. Miami Herald File

More parcels with drugs concealed inside have been intercepted in Miami.

On Oct. 20 and again the next day, federal agents discovered two mail parcels coming from China and addressed to the same private postal office in downtown Miami. Both parcels contained vacuum-sealed Mylar pouches filled with the synthetic drug known as Ethylone.

The shipments led agents to a suspect, Reyniel Cabrera Inurrieta, who was arrested Oct. 21 after he picked up the packages at the Urban Mail & Business Center in downtown Miami. He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty.

The case is only the latest involving a drug pipeline from China. Over the last months, an increasing number of mail and private shipping service parcels have arrived from China containing synthetic drugs or ingredients for making synthetic drugs such as Ethylone, Molly or Flakka. A recent three-part series by the Miami Herald spotlighted the illicit narcotics pipeline.

The latest parcels also illustrate tactics by drug traffickers who hide narcotics in various objects such as mail packages, computers or small bags of flour. In recent days, a Guatemalan was indicted on drug charges in Burlington, Vermont, after being arrested outside a Mexican food restaurant when he took delivery of a parcel with concealed heroin labeled as flour, which had originally been discovered in Miami.

The Ethylone case in Miami began Oct. 20 when special agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), seized a small parcel that had arrived from China, according to federal court records.

A criminal complaint filed by an HSI special agent said the parcel was addressed to “Anthony Smith” at the Urban Mail & Business Center in downtown Miami. The contents were identified as yoga clothes, the complaint said.

The next day, Oct. 21, a second parcel arrived from China addressed to “Anthuan Smith” also at Urban Mail & Business center, the complaint said. Inside, investigators also found a Mylar pouch containing Ethylone, the complaint said. In all, the pouches contained two kilos of the drug.

Investigators learned that a person who identified himself as Anthony Smith had rented a mailbox at Urban Mail & Business Center using a Colorado driver license bearing the defendant’s photograph, the complaint said.

Soon after the second parcel arrived on Oct. 21, HSI agents delivered the packages at Urban Mail &Business Center — after replacing the real drugs with “sham narcotics,” according to the criminal complaint.

After Cabrera, the defendant, picked up the packages, he was arrested. The criminal complaint says he refused to talk to investigators.

An HSI spokesman in Miami declined comment on the case saying it’s still under investigation.

Alfonso Chardy: 305-376-3435, @AlfonsoChardy

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