Kentucky woman pleads guilty in Fentanyl smuggling case

Docs: Defendant was to be paid with ‘discounted’ plastic surgery, pills

McALLEN — During secondary inspection of a pedestrian at a port of entry, federal officers discovered nearly 2,000 pills of Fentanyl within a Kentucky woman’s underwear and hidden inside her genitals.

Yenny Yamileth Pino, who attempted to smuggle the powerful opioid inside her body while attempting to enter the United States, pleaded guilty Monday to a federal drug charge during a re-arraignment hearing before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez.

Pino was detained and arrested Aug. 12 as she attempted to enter the U.S. from Mexico at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge, according to the complaint against her.

The woman, who tried entering the country via the pedestrian lane, was referred by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for a secondary inspection.

“During the pat down in secondary, Customs and Border Protection officers found two vacuum-sealed bags, which contained 881 unidentified blue pills in Pino’s undergarments,” the document states.

The Kentucky woman also admitted to CBP officers that she was carrying an “unknown object in her vaginal area,” the complaint read.

After giving written consent for a medical examination, CBP officers discovered a “cylinder-shaped object” inside of her.

“The object, 5.9 inches in length, was wrapped in a black material and secured by a condom, the document shows,” the complaint further read. “The object contained 1,100 blue pills.”

In total, CBP officers found Pino to be in possession of 1,981 blue pills later determined to be the powerful opioid Fentanyl. The pills weighed approximately more than 233 grams.

During an interview with federal agents, Pino admitted to being a “body carrier” of an illegal substance.

She also told agents in exchange for smuggling the Fentanyl pills, she received a “discount on a body enhancement procedure,” as well as 30 of the nearly 2,000 Fentanyl pills, the record shows.

“Pino was to turn over some of the pills to an unidentified taxi driver in McAllen, Texas,” the complaint states.

On Monday, as part of a plea deal with government prosecutors, Pino pleaded guilty to one count of the indictment against her — possession of a controlled substance. In exchange, the government agreed to dismiss the remaining drug conspiracy charge against her at the time of her sentencing, court notes show.

The 21-year-old woman is set for sentencing April 25, where she could receive between five and 40 years in federal prison, court notes show.

According to CBP enforcement statistics for fiscal year 2018, specifically through July 31, 2018, the office of field operations reported seizing 1,357 pounds of Fentanyl. (link to stats: https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/cbp-enforcement-statistics)

Pino, who has also lived in Florida, is represented by McAllen-based attorney Oscar Vega, while the government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. Lindenmuth.

Pino will remain free on a $50,000 bond pending her sentencing hearing.