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DRUG SMUGGLERS USING HIGH-TECH TO FOOL AGENTS

Drug smugglers are molding cocaine into innocent-looking plastic items such as eyeglass frames and camera parts in yet another high-tech way to fool narcotics agents, investigators say.

Investigators discovered 355 pounds of cocaine made into black electrical bushings, or fittings used to reduce friction between parts, FBI spokesman Paul Miller said Tuesday. Five Colombians were indicted on drug trafficking charges.New technology makes it possible to transform the cocaine into anything - toys, eyeglass frames, camera parts - and in a form undetectable by drug-sniffing dogs or routine visual or chemical tests, agents said.

"This obviously is a new challenge to law enforcement," said William Gavin, agent in charge of the FBI in Miami.

FBI chemist Dean Fetterolf said that the bureau is making equipment available to test suspicious plastic parts. The FBI uses an ion mobility spectrometer that can analyze even dust from suspicious plastic parts.