Two Women Charged After Allegedly Ingesting Cocaine-Filled Pellets
|Sept. 21, 2012|
HOUSTON – Azzie LaDawn Caldwell, 32, and Indira Doorga, 42, have been charged with importing cocaine into the U.S., conspiring to possess with intent to distribute as well as possessing with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Caldwell, of Detroit, Mich., and Doorga, a citizen of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, were arrested at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) after it was determined they had allegedly ingested pellets containing cocaine.
The criminal complaint filed today alleges that on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, Caldwell and Doorga arrived at IAH aboard a flight from Trinidad and Tobago bound for Detroit. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents became suspicious when they received inconsistent statements from them regarding their purpose for travel, whether they knew one another or had traveled together. The investigative effort ultimately lead to x-rays, which allegedly revealed anomalies resembling pellets believed to contain a controlled substance. The women were each admitted to an area hospital.
Through further investigation, special agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) determined Drooga and Caldwell met in Trinidad earlier this month. Drooga had allegedly agreed to join Caldwell in importing cocaine into the United States in exchange for $20,000. According to the complaint, the women swallowed the pellets and inserted others into their vaginal canal before boarding their flight into the United States.
Caldwell and Doorga expelled a total of 38 and 51 pellets, respectively, which contained a substance that field tested positive for cocaine. Both women are in federal custody and were discharged from the hospital yesterday. They are expected to make their initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Wm. Smith later today.
Upon conviction, each of the offenses charged carries a mandatory minimum of five years and up to a 40-year maximum term of imprisonment and millions in fines.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by CBP and HSI. Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Herrera is prosecuting the case.