Rolling Blunder: Authorities Seize 3.74kg of Cocaine from Wheelchair Tires

BOSTON, Dec. 24, 2012—A Christmas season traveler was held on high bail today after State Police and Homeland Security officials found almost four kilograms of cocaine in the tires of a wheelchair he was using for no apparent medical purpose, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

Arrested Friday at Logan International Airport, EMMANUELLI ROJAS-MORAZA (D.O.B. 3/25/79) of Carolina, Puerto Rico, was arraigned today in East Boston District Court on one count of trafficking in more than 200 grams of cocaine. Judge Tracy-Lee Lyons set his bail at $45,000 cash.

Assistant District Attorney Janine D’Amico told the court that State troopers assigned to the airport were called to the Terminal E customs hall Friday morning after Homeland Security Investigations and US Customs and Border Patrol agents requested their assistance in a narcotics investigation.

Customs officials had detected an anomaly while X-raying the wheelchair Rojas-Moraza was using during entry screening, D’Amico said. Agents drilled a hole in one of the chair’s tires and found a white substance that field-tested positive for cocaine. Troopers and federal agents disassembled the wheelchair and found within its tires and frame numerous blue pellets containing more cocaine. The total weight of the substance was 3.74 kilograms.

Rojas-Moraza, who was also wearing a cast on one of his legs, was transported to Whidden Memorial Hospital, where his leg was also X-rayed. A doctor assigned to his care opined that there was no structural damage to the leg necessitating a cast. The cast was removed and field-tested negative for narcotics. Clinicians replaced that cast with a walking cast as a medical precaution.

The origin of the drugs remains under investigation. Rojas-Moraza will return to court on Jan. 7.


All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.