2007_10_fullofgrace.jpgQueens prosecutors announced yesterday that a teenager acting as a drug mule was arrested at JFK airport on Tuesday. Anthony Cruz, 16, was stopped by customs officials as he arrived on an American Airlines flight from Santiago in the Dominican Republic. X-rays of his body revealed 80 balloons of heroin with a total weight of 988 grams (nearly 1 kilo and more than 2 pounds). According to officials, the heroin was worth $500,000.

Richard Brown, the Queens DA said that Cruz was endangering himself in addition to New York City, "Not only was he endangering the citizens of New York City by bringing narcotics into their neighborhoods but he could have suffered fatal injuries if any of the balloons burst and the heroin entered his system." Cruz, who is 5'11" and 210 pounds, was born in New York and lives with his mother in La Vega, DR. Officials say he confessed to swallowing the balloons for $300, 500 Dominican pesos (about $15) and a ticket to New York. The teenager faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The balloons were passed without incident at an airport hospital in the 48 hours following his arrest.