News and Press Releases

Leader of Ghana-Based Heroin Smuggling Ring Sentenced to 168 Months in Prison

April 6, 2012

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Edward Macauley, a/k/a “Cudjoe Opoku,” 62, of Ghana, was sentenced today to 168 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for 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 sentencing by United States District Judge James C. Cacheris.

            Macauley pled guilty on Jan. 17, 2012, to conspiring to import heroin. According to court records, Macauley led a Ghana-based heroin trafficking organization that recruited couriers to smuggle into the United States through Dulles International Airport heroin that was hidden in specially-prepared carry-on bags, clothing, and wigs.  The organization paid couriers to transport the heroin, along with providing airfare, passports, and hotel accommodations until the drugs were transferred to distributors within the United States.

            Eleven individuals have been charged as members of the trafficking ring.  To date, seven have been convicted, and these charges and convictions have led to the dismantling of this drug trafficking organization 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, 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  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on


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