Cocaine shipped to U.S. inside old TV leads to man's arrest

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Providence, Rhode Island — A Rhode Island man accused of taking possession of more than a kilogram of cocaine that had been shipped from Colombia inside an old television has been detained by federal authorities, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Jomar Cruz-Aponte, 25, of Pawtucket, is charged with conspiracy to possess 500 grams or more of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office in Providence.

Cruz-Aponte was due back in court Tuesday. An email seeking comment was left with his federal public defender.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted a package shipped to Rhode Island from Colombia on Dec. 22 that, according to shipping documents, contained an “old TV without commercial value,” prosecutors said. But the tube-model TV was found to contain more than 1 kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of cocaine, prosecutors said.

It was the second time in nine days that a TV containing cocaine from Colombia to Rhode Island had been intercepted, authorities said.

Authorities removed the cocaine from the second TV and delivered it to a Pawtucket doorstep. Cruz-Aponte was seen by police taking the package and then leaving the area in a car, prosecutors allege. The car was pulled over and he was apprehended after trying to run away, authorities said.

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