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Brooklyn, New York

Importer sentenced for conspiring to import cocaine in chili pepper shipment

In Brooklyn federal court, Humberto Baez, a produce importer based in Pennsylvania, was sentenced by US District Judge Allyne R. Ross to 13 years’ imprisonment for conspiring to import and distribute cocaine, and for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. 

“Today’s sentence demonstrates that this Office and its law enforcement partners are committed to stopping the flow of dangerous drugs into this country and to bringing drug traffickers like Baez to justice,” stated Acting United States Attorney Kasulis. 

“By conspiring to import cocaine hidden in a carton of chili peppers, Humberto Baez was fueling a violent trade that victimizes New Yorkers. His conviction and sentencing today sends a clear message that the NYPD and our law enforcement partners will stop at nothing to track these kinds of schemes and protect the public from the impact of illegal narcotics,” NYPD Commissioner Shea said.

According to, Baez conspired with others to import cocaine hidden inside a shipping container into the US between August 2016 and March 2018. Baez had contacted an importing company to use as a front to transport cocaine from Baez’s source of supply in the Dominican Republic. 

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