By Calvin Palmer
A nervous traveler trying to board an Air France flight at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport aroused the suspicions of customs officers.
Those suspicions were well founded because it turned out the man, a 42-year-old from Togo, was carrying 2.2 pounds of cocaine contained in 85 condoms in his stomach.
Housrou Kedji was apprehended as he tried to board Flight 639 to France four weeks ago. He is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court on Friday, charged with two counts of drug-trafficking.
Kedji was so nervous he drew the attention of Customs and Border Protection inspectors questioning travelers, according to an affidavit filed in federal court. His hands were shaking, his heart was racing, and he gave conflicting stories of as to the purpose of his visit to Houston.
He supposedly confessed that he had traveled to Houston from Togo, and was headed to Switzerland. His pay for the job was to be 5,000 Euros, or nearly $6,500.
A hospital X-ray machine revealed the cocaine parceled into packets of a few grams apiece contained in the condoms.
Kedji took five hours and four minutes to surrender his illicit cargo while sitting on a special no-flow toilet under the eyes of federal agents and doctors at a Houston hospital.
Mike Vigil, a retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent, said the odds of catching Kedji were about zero, if he had just stayed calm and blended in with the other passengers.
“A lot of these guys may be a first-time courier,” Vigil said. “They are perspiring and do stupid things to bring attention to themselves.
“You get these guys thinking, ‘I am going to get caught, going to go to the jail,'” he said. “They are at the point where they are shaking.”
[Based on a report by The Houston Chronicle.]