By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to 13 years in prison for smuggling cocaine inside boxes of peppers.

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The Drug Enforcement Administration announced Humberto Baez of Lancaster County was sentenced Thursday for conspiring to import and distribute cocaine, and for possessing with intent to distribute cocaine. Baez was previously convicted by a jury in February 2019.

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Baez, according to the DEA, conspired with others to import cocaine into the United States between August 2016 and March 2018. The DEA says Baez and his co-conspirators arranged for two “dry run” shipments containing only produce to appear legitimate.

In a third shipment, 16 kilograms of cocaine were concealed in the flaps of cardboard boxes containing chili peppers. The shipment went to Florida in February 2018 and was driven by truck to Baez’s warehouse in Pennsylvania, the DEA said.

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Law enforcement seized the shipment one month later, the DEA said.