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NEWARK, N.J. – A Colorado man will make his initial appearance today on charges that he smuggled approximately two kilograms of cocaine into the United States, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Leandre Kemont Jefferson, 23, of Denver, Colorado, was arrested on Oct. 23, 2020. He is charged by complaint with one count of importation of controlled substances and is scheduled to appear by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Oct. 23, 2020, Jefferson arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport aboard a flight from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. During a screening, law enforcement officers discovered that Jefferson possessed approximately two kilograms of cocaine concealed inside of 12 vacuum packed bags, which were themselves wrapped in foil, and which was further concealed inside of clothing.

The count with which Jefferson is charged carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a potential maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina; and officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Troy Miller, director of Field Operations, New York Field Office, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean M. Sherman of the Criminal Division in Newark.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Defense counsel: Peter Carter Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

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