NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two men suspected of helping smuggle cocaine to New York from Mexico inside statues of the Virgin Mary were arrested Thursday, U.S. authorities said.
Peter Matheis, 52, and Rafael Serrano, 36, both Mexican nationals, were indicted in New York and Houston respectively on money-laundering and narcotics charges along with six others arrested previously in the United States, the Drug Enforcement Administration said.
Five 3-foot-tall statues of the Virgin Mary, filled with 242 pounds of cocaine, were seized in a Brooklyn warehouse as part of the police operation.The drug ring used the statues to smuggle cocaine worth millions of dollars, FBI agent John Gilbride said in a statement.
The DEA said the investigation was continuing in Mexico.
Lawyers for the defendants could not be immediately reached for comment.