Man Tries To Smuggle More Than 10 Pounds Of Heroin Onto Flight

REUTERS/US DEA/Handout via Reuters

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Four members of a drug ring are facing federal trafficking charges after attempting to smuggle more than 10 pounds of heroin on a plane bound for Hawaii.

The four men appeared in federal court for the first time Monday for their roles in the scheme. James Jesse Perez, Justin Ka‘ahu, Tevita Mailei and Maurice Johnson all conspired to bring 10.5 pounds of heroin into Hawaii for distribution in Honolulu, reports Hawaii News Now.

Agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency made arrests after discovering the heroin in false bottoms built into suitcases. Investigators with the DEA estimate the seized heroin carried a street value of roughly $20,000.

An airport worker arrested for attempting to traffic several pounds of heroin wrapped as Christmas gifts through Los Angeles International Airport recently pleaded guilty to federal charges. LAX security discovered “six packages of a suspicious gray brittle concrete-like substance” that gave off a vinegary odor after luggage was flagged during a security screening Dec. 10.

The initial discovery sparked a minor panic among travelers and airport officials, who called in a hazardous materials unit to inspect the packages. That forced airport officials to close a portion of Terminal 3. James Mitchell, 25, faces up to 40 years in prison for trafficking the substance.

Law enforcement officials across the country are in a fight against relentless trafficking of heroin and other opioids from Mexican cartels and domestic distributors.

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Steve Birr