MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport police intercepted more than 50 pounds of cocaine inside two suitcases on inbound flights from Los Angeles, according to court documents.
On May 16, a K9 alerted its handler to a bag for potential narcotics that was being offloaded from an inbound aircraft, charges said. The tag belonged to a 29-year-old man from Detroit, Michigan, who had flown from LAX to MSP with a connecting flight heading to Ohio.
Court records say the man flew from Detroit to LAX to pick up a bag with plans to bring it to Ohio. When officers met the man in baggage claim he was trying to leave the airport even though his connecting flight was in an hour.
Law enforcement informed the man of the K9 alert for possible narcotics, and he admitted the bag was his but gave "inconsistent answers" for who packed the bag and when. Law enforcement obtained a search warrant and located 25.6 pounds of cocaine inside the bag, according to charges.
The 29-year-old man claimed he didn’t know there was cocaine in the bag and thought he was transporting a large amount of cash. He added he was paid thousands of dollars to carry the bag and would get contacted when he landed in Ohio. Officers searched his phone which showed seven previous flights from LAX to Ohio, charges allege.
He informed police a woman was traveling with him on another flight from LAX and was also carrying a bag of "cash". A K9 intercepted the bag as it was being offloaded from the aircraft and alerted its handler for potential narcotics. Officers met the 29-year-old woman at the gate and detained her.
Officers executed a search warrant for the bag and discovered 25.88 pounds of cocaine. In total officers say they recovered 51.5 pounds of cocaine between the two travelers. Given the amount of drugs seized law enforcement believes they both hold higher positions in the drug distribution hierarchy.
The 29-year-old man and 28-year-old woman each face one count of importing controlled substances across state borders and one count of first-degree aggravated controlled substance crime with aggravating factors.
They are scheduled to make their first court appearance Friday afternoon.