A Dallas man has been convicted by a federal jury on Thursday, Aug. 26, of trying to smuggle some four kilograms of methamphetamine into U.S. soil by passing it off as ceramic art.

Oscar Santiago Garcia Sanchez, 32, reportedly entered the Presidio Port of Entry driving a vehicle with a trailer filled with ceramic art pieces in February earlier this year. However, after Customs and Border Protection officers inspected the vehicle, they discovered a crystal substance inside the art pieces.

Some 3.4 kilograms of methamphetamine would later be retrieved from the ceramic art pieces, according to the United States Department of Justice.

Sanchez was arrested on Feb 2, 2021, and has remained in federal custody since. Sanchez faces up to life in prison for the drug conviction. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 23, 2021.

In a similar but unrelated incident, a Mexican man allegedly attempted to smuggle around US$1 million worth meth inside juice boxes, glass beer bottles, and coolers into the United States in March last year.

Juan Victor Larraga-Solano, 32, a Mexican citizen, reportedly attempted to enter the United States through the Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge in Laredo on March 8, 2020. He had set out to enter the border claiming that he was importing glass beer bottles, juice boxes, and meat contained in coolers from Mexico into the country, Latin Times reported.

However, when law enforcement inspected his haul, they reportedly noticed that the juice boxes sounded as if they contained rocks when they were shaken. They also noticed that the glass beer bottles which he said contained beer did not have any bubbles. A follow-up X-ray examination also revealed anomalies in the walls of the coolers.

A thorough inspection revealed 56 packages of meth and 12 beer bottles containing liquid meth in Larraga-Solano's possession.

The authorities seized a total of 44.56 kilograms of meth worth an estimated street value of more than US$1.1 million from Larraga-Solano.

Larraga-Solano's sentencing is set for Nov. 30. He faces up to life in federal prison and a possible maximum fine of US$10 million.

In another incident, a middle-aged Peruvian woman who tried to enter the United States was nabbed with approximately seven kilograms of cocaine concealed within wrapped chocolate candy inside her luggage in March 2019.

Yolanda Fonseca Melgarejo, 59, arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport on March 31, 2019, following a flight from Lima, Peru. The woman was shortly seized by Customs officers upon arrival after some seven kilograms of cocaine was seized from her checked baggage. It was discovered that Melgarejo and her accomplices tried to pass off the drugs by hiding them inside wrapped chocolate bars.

Melgarejo has been charged with a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a potential maximum penalty of life in prison, and a maximum fine of US$10 million dollars for her crime. Her sentencing is reportedly scheduled for Oct. 14, 2021.

Representational image. Getty Images

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