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Man tries to smuggle cocaine inside clams at Dulles

Thursday - 9/8/2011, 1:04pm  ET

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Officials seized a combined 152 grams of cocaine from 15 clams. (Photo courtesy of Department of Homeland Security)

Alicia Lozano, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - In the latest attempt to sneak drugs across the U.S. border, a man from El Salvador concealed 15 bags of cocaine in clams at Washington Dulles International Airport. Authorities found the stash hidden inside the man's luggage.

Officials seized a combined 152 grams of the narcotic from David Rene Pocasangre Vaquiz, 26. The approximate street value of the drugs is about $10,000.

"Smugglers attempt all types of creative concealment methods to sneak their deadly poison into the United States and this is one of the oddest we've seen," says Christopher Hess, Customs and Border Protection port director for D.C.

Pocasangre Vaquiz arrived at Dulles about 2 a.m. Saturday from Panama, says Steve Sapp from the Department of Homeland Security. He was headed for Maryland, but was first stopped for a routine inspection.

Customs agents found a black plastic bag containing approximately 80 clams. Hidden inside the first clam opened by officials was cocaine. An X-ray revealed 14 more such clams, which had been pried opened, stuffed with drugs and glued shut.

"It could very well be that they were experimenting with that method," Sapp says. "We don't think they will try that again."

Pocasangre Vaquiz is being charged with transporting narcotics into Virginia and possession with intent to distribute. His preliminary hearing is Oct. 5. He is being held without bond.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)