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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 9, 2015

Dominican Woman Indicted for Drug Smuggling at Logan Airport

BOSTON – A Dominican woman was indicted today in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with smuggling cocaine into the United States at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

Ireline Aponte Melende, 30, of the Dominican Republic was indicted on unlawful importation of a controlled substance.  She was arrested and charged in a criminal complaint in May 2015.

According to court documents, on May 10, 2015, Aponte Melende, was stopped at Logan International Airport after she arrived on a flight from the Dominican Republic using a motorized wheelchair.  When the wheelchair was x-rayed, Customs and Border Protection officers noticed abnormalities in the wheelchair batteries.  The batteries were opened, revealing four bricks containing a white powdery substance which preliminary testing revealed to be cocaine.

The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $1 million.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Bruce Shea, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth B. Orkand of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Updated July 10, 2015