Security Scan of Vases Leads to Cocaine Arrest

April 9, 2007
TSA personnel operating X-ray machines became concerned when the devices could not identify what was in the vases.

OAKLAND -- Aloha cocaine.

Police said a Fairfield man was arrested Friday morning at Oakland International Airport trying to smuggle 2 kilograms of cocaine, worth at least $600,000, onto a Hawaii-bound flight.

Police said Frank Taylor, 22, used hot wax to encase the cocaine in the shape of candles, which he then hid in two vases in different carry-on bags.

He was scheduled to catch a morning ATA airlines flight to Honolulu at Terminal 1.

But federal Transportation Security Administration personnel operating X-ray machines at a checkpoint line became concerned about 8:30 a.m. when the devices could not identify what was in the vases, police said.

Police assigned to the airport were summoned, and Taylor was detained while a specially trained dog was brought to the scene to sniff out possible explosives.

The dog did not react as it should have if explosives had been present, and police eventually determined the vases contained powder cocaine, authorities said.

Narcotics officers estimated the cocaine's street value at a minimum of $600,000 on the mainland and said it easily could have been worth double and even triple that in Hawaii.

Taylor was arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine for sale and transportation of cocaine.

No flights were delayed.

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