WILMINGTON - Twelve people have been charged with smuggling cocaine and heroin from Panama into the United States and distributing it to street-level dealers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, according to an indictment that federal prosecutors announced Monday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Kravetz said the smuggling network used female couriers who tried to cross the border between Mexico and Texas with packets of uncut cocaine and heroin sewn into Lycra shorts, using a cucumber-aloe mixture to try to thwart drug-sniffing dogs. After several couriers were arrested using that method, the smugglers resorted to sewing packets of drugs into hair weaves and wigs. Authorities said the ring distributed the drugs to dealers in downtown Wilmington; Avondale and Kennett Square, Chester County; and Elkton, Md.

Three local men were among those charged: Ronaldo Edmund, 36, of Wilmington; Kelvin Cook, 33, of Newark, Del.; and Julio Archer, 39, of Philadelphia. - AP