An Amtrak passenger carrying crutches due to a purported leg injury suffered in a motorcycle crash was arrested Tuesday after federal agents discovered that the plaster cast on his right leg hid more than a kilo of cocaine.
Daniel Ramirez, 21, was aboard a train traveling to Chicago from California when he was approached by Drug Enforcement Administration task force officers during a scheduled stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to federal court records.
Ramirez, who told the investigators that he was taking the 41-hour trip to Chicago to visit a friend, appeared “increasingly nervous” as he spoke to the agents, who reported that “his hands were shaking.” The drug agents also noted that Ramirez was wearing a cast that was “uneven in texture, size and shaping not consistent with that of a cast applied by a medical professional.”
When Ramirez agreed to remove a sock, the lower portion of cast “began to crumble and fall off the bottom of his foot.” Additionally, when the federal agents peered down into the cast, they spotted what appeared to be plastic packaging.
One search warrant later, agents retrieved five heat-sealed bags of cocaine from inside Ramirez’s cast, which is seen above in a DEA evidence photo taken before the cast was dismantled.
The seized bundles contained about a kilo of cocaine (which wholesales for about $25,000). Ramirez, who lives in San Bernardino, California, was charged yesterday with a felony narcotics count and was been jailed in advance of a U.S. District Court detention hearing.
A search warrant affidavit notes that as an investigator escorted a handcuffed Ramirez off the Amtrak train, other passengers approached a second DEA agent to report that “Ramirez had been walking about the train without the assistance of his crutches during the course of the trip.”