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Feds: Random JFK check leads to drug bust

Cocaine stuffed into a piece of luggage was

Cocaine stuffed into a piece of luggage was spotted Monday during passenger screening at Kennedy Airport. A Lindenhurst man just off a flight from the Caribbean was arrested after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said he tried to sneak seven pounds of cocaine into the country in a secret compartment in his suitcase. (March 7, 2011) Photo Credit: USCBP/Handout

Federal agents randomly searched the luggage of a man at Kennedy Airport and discovered more than 7 pounds of cocaine in a secret compartment in his suitcase, a federal spokesman said.

Paul K. Calderon, 43, who gave authorities a Lindenhurst address, was stopped randomly for a so-called enforcement exam when he arrived at the airport Monday on a flight from the Dominican Republic, John Saleh, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection's New York field office, said Wednesday.

Officials inspecting luggage noticed that the suitcase had an unusually thick bottom. The white, powdery substance inside "tested positive for cocaine" and has a street value of $160,000, according to a news release. Saleh said the luggage containing the cocaine was checked onto Calderon's flight from Santiago.

It was not immediately clear what Calderon was charged with but the announcement of the arrest by Customs said he faces "significant jail time" if convicted. He is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

Saleh said Calderon told authorities he lived in Lindenhurst, but a check of public records lists his most recent residence as an apartment in Glendale, Queens.

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