Cocaine Disguised as Cake Leads to Arrest of 2 Alleged Smugglers on Maine Interstate
A drug-sniffing dog detected the veiled cocaine after authorities tracked and pulled over a vehicle suspected of ferrying drugs
The shiny blue packaging carried the image of an iced cake topped with what looked like white chocolate slivers and plump raspberries. "Blanco perfecto," it read. "Perfect white."
But under the wrapper, according to police, was a block of cocaine, sprinkled with coffee grounds to make it look marbled and cover up the scent.
The fake cake was detected by a drug-sniffing dog Tuesday after authorities pulled over a vehicle entering Gardiner, Maine, on I-295, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said in a news release.
Following the discovery, authorities arrested John Cedeno, 25, of New York City, and Chelsy Cochran, 33, of Winslow, Maine, on aggravated drug trafficking charges, the Maine DEA said.
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The deceptive dessert contained about 4 pounds of cocaine, carrying an estimated street value of $200,000. About $1,900 in cash was also seized from the vehicle by officers who tracked and pulled over the suspects after receiving an anonymous tip.
Agents with the state DEA believed the drugs were being ferried into Maine for redistribution in Kennebec and Somerset counties, and that the cash represented the profits from illegal drug sales, according to the news release.
Cedeno, also known as "Papers," was a familiar name to agents. In 2015, he was charged with aggravated drug trafficking after he was found with 38 grams of heroin, a handgun and several thousand dollars. He received a four-year prison sentence in 2016 after being convicted on that charge, the Maine DEA reported.
Cedeno became the focus of a new investigation after the anonymous source led officers to suspect he had a role in spreading "considerable amounts of cocaine" within central Maine, according to the state agency.
On Tuesday, police were on the lookout for Cochran's Audi when they spotted the vehicle traveling north on the Maine Turnpike, with Cochran at the wheel and Cedeno alongside her. Police stopped the car on I-295 as it entered Gardiner, and a police K9 indicated the presence of the drugs inside it.
PEOPLE confirms the alleged traffickers are being held at Kennebec County Jail, with bail set at $750,000 for Cedeno and $50,000 for Cochran. It was not immediately clear if either had entered a plea or retained an attorney who might speak on their behalf.