A Ghanaian woman is facing federal narcotics smuggling charges after Customs and Border Protection officers on Dec. 24 found more than 11 pounds of heroin hidden in her suitcase’s lining at Washington Dulles International Airport.
Nana Tweneboah, 68, is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to court documents, CBP officers noticed that Tweneboah’s black suitcase remained unusually heavy despite being emptied of its contents.
A CBP officer inspected the lining of the suitcase and discovered a large, single package concealed within the bottom lining of the suitcase. That package allegedly contained a brown, powdery substance, a sample of which field-tested positive for heroin.
The substance weighed 11 pounds, 6.8 ounces. It had a street value of approximately $365,000.
CBP officers turned Tweneboah and the suspected heroin over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
CBP officers placed a detainer on Tweneboah for her to be returned to CBP upon adjudication of her charges.
“Nefarious criminal organizations think they can take advantage of U.S. holidays to sneak in their deadly poison, but this seizure and arrest should be a warning to all that Customs and Border Protection officers don’t take a holiday,” said Christopher Hess, CBP port director for the Port of Washington, D.C. “Narcotics interdiction at our nation’s borders is one of CBP’s priority enforcement missions, and one that we take very seriously.”
Tweneboah arrived from Ghana via Amsterdam, the Netherlands shortly after 3 p.m. Christmas Eve. She was reportedly destined to an address in Alexandria to visit with her son and daughter.
During fiscal 2012, which spanned Oct. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2012, CBP officers at Washington Dulles International Airport intercepted a little more than 61 pounds of heroin in 16 seizures.
CBP routinely conducts random inspections operations on arriving and departing passengers searching for narcotics, currency, weapons and other prohibited or illicit products.
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