Two men allegedly involved in the attempted smuggling of 22 kilos of cocaine through Logan International Airport do not know each other, and had no idea their luggage was stuffed with the cocaine until authorities alerted them, defense attorneys said today at their arraignment.
Nazel O. Miranda-Diaz, 20, and Edwin Rosario, 28, both of Puerto Rico, were arrested at Logan Wednesday night after arriving in Boston on a JetBlue flight from San Juan, according to State Police and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office.
Both men were arraigned in East Boston Municipal Court today, where they pleaded not guilty to charges of trafficking in more than 200 grams of cocaine and other charges. Judge Robert Ronquillo rejected prosecutors’ request for $1 million cash bail, but did set bail at $250,000 for each, well above the amounts defense lawyers requested.
Authorities estimated the value of the cocaine at $1 million.
In court, prosecutors said US Drug Enforcement Administration special agents intercepted Miranda-Diaz’s baggage in Puerto Rico where they allegedly discovered it held 12 kilos of suspected cocaine.
The agents alerted Massachusetts State Police assigned to Logan Airport that they should check Rosario’s baggage when it arrived, prosecutors said. Last night, when Rosario stood near the luggage carousel waiting for his bag, he was joined by a law enforcement official who took both the bag and Rosario into custody. The bag was allegedly found to contain 10 kilos of suspected cocaine.
Police field-tested the powder in both San Juan and Boston and confirmed that it was cocaine, officials said.
Miranda-Diaz also was arrested after getting off the plane. Authorities said he had appeared nervous when he saw a uniformed trooper after disembarking.
Rosario’s attorney, Scott Lauer, said his client is the father of one child and that his wife was expecting their second child soon. He said his client works as a waiter in a Puerto Rican restaurant and has no prior criminal history.
Lauer said Rosario did not know the cocaine was in his suitcase, and added there was no evidence his client was dealing drugs.
“At most, what we have here is that he is a drug mule,’’ said Lauer.
The attorney for Miranda-Diaz, David Bell, said his client did not know Rosario. Authorities said they sat close to, though not next to, each other on the flight.
He also said Miranda-Diaz had no knowledge of the cocaine that police allegedly found in his baggage in Puerto Rico.