JFK Airport customs seize fentanyl disguised as candle

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists and officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport recently intercepted a food courier carrying a concealed illegal substance.

On April 9, Eulalio Gomez-Zuniga, a US citizen arriving from Mexico City, underwent inspection by CBP agriculture specialists. Anomalies within three cylindrical objects in his luggage caught their attention during an x-ray examination. The objects were later identified as candles.

CBP officers were called to assist, and upon probing one of the candles, they discovered a white powder that tested positive for fentanyl. Gomez-Zuniga was arrested for importing a controlled substance and handed over to the NYPD for state prosecution. The seized fentanyl weighed approximately 2.5 pounds and had an estimated street value of $60,000.

Francis J. Russo, Director of CBP’s New York Field Operations, emphasized the dangers posed by fentanyl, as it is frequently mixed with other substances, leading to potentially fatal consequences.

The seized fentanyl was found to be 73% pure, capable of causing numerous overdoses in the community. Russo praised the efforts of the CBP employees in preventing the entry of fentanyl into neighborhoods and protecting communities from its destructive effects.

Currently, Gomez-Zuniga is facing narcotics smuggling charges and is awaiting prosecution by the state.