News and Press Releases

Leader of Ghana-Based Heroin Smuggling Ring Pleads Guilty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2012

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Edward Macauley, a/k/a “Cudjoe Opoku,” 61, of Ghana, pled guilty today to leading an international heroin trafficking ring that used couriers to smuggle multiple kilograms of heroin from Ghana into the United States.

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 after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge James C. Cacheris.

            Macauley was indicted on April 28, 2011, and pled guilty today to conspiring to import heroin. He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison when he is sentenced on April 6, 2012.

            According to court records, Macauley led a Ghana-based heroin trafficking organization that recruited couriers to hide heroin in carry-on bags and wigs to smuggle into the United States through Dulles International Airport. The organization paid couriers to transport the heroin, along with providing airfare, passports, and hotel accommodations until the drugs are transferred to distributors within the United States.

            Nine individuals have been charged as members of the trafficking ring, and four have pled guilty to date.

            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, with cooperation from New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

 

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