A St. Croix man and woman made their first court appearance Thursday on charges they attempted to smuggle cocaine from St. Croix to Florida in bundles of frozen conch, officials said.
Edward Saldana, 36, and Bianca Torres, 34, were ticked passengers on a Jan. 23 Spirit Airlines flight to Ft. Lauderdale, each carrying carry-on cooler bags containing individually wrapped packages of frozen conch, according to United States Attorney Delia Smith. When Customs and Border Protection agents searched the conch they allegedly found 4 kilograms — nearly 9 pounds — of cocaine frozen within.
The pair appeared before United States Magistrate Emile A. Henderson III. If convicted, Saldana and Torres face a minimum of five years and maximum of 40 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.