Airport Security Supervisor in Ghana Indicted in Alleged International Heroin Trafficking Ring
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An airport security supervisor in Ghana was indicted today by a federal grand jury for allegedly assisting members of an international heroin trafficking ring to smuggle heroin from Ghana into the United States through Dulles International Airport.
Edmund Darkwah, a/k/a “Henry,” 37, a resident of Ghana, was charged today with conspiracy to import heroin and two counts of heroin distribution. If convicted, Darkwah faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison for each count.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ava Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge for Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s Washington Division, made the announcement.
According to the indictment, Darkwah conspired with Edward Macauley, a/k/a “Cudjoe Opoku,” a resident of Ghana and the alleged leader of a Ghana-based heroin trafficking organization that recruits couriers to smuggle heroin into the United States through Dulles International Airport. The organization pays couriers up to $15,000 to transport the heroin, either in carry-on luggage or stitched into a wig of artificial hair.
Darkwah is a supervisor with the Ghana Aviation Security Section (AVSEC) and was employed at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana. The indictment alleges that the Macauley organization pays Darkwah $2,000 to ensure safe passage through the airport for its couriers.
To date, 11 individuals have been charged in this ongoing investigation. Four of those charged and in taken into custody in Ghana – Macauley, Frank Ehiobe, Fred Oppong Brobbey, and Matilda Antwi – were extradited to the United States and made an initial appearance in federal court on Nov. 15, 2011. They and five other alleged co-conspirators are scheduled for trial on Jan. 31, 2012. In a related case, Yvonne Ansah Owusu of Alexandria, Va., pled guilty to transporting a suitcase containing heroin from Ghana to the United States and was sentenced to 51 months in prison on Oct. 24, 2011.
Darkwah is currently in custody of law enforcement in Ghana.
This Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation was conducted by the DEA’s Washington and New York Field Divisions and DEA’s Special Operations Division, with assistance from the Ghanaian Narcotics Control Board and Ghana Police Services, the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Arlington Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorneys James P. Gillis and Karen L. Dunn of the National Security and International Crime Unit are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.