You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

South African woman sentenced to prison for mailing controlled substances to Ohio inmates

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A South African woman was sentenced in U.S. District Court here today to 12 months and one day in prison for mailing large amounts of K2 and Suboxone via mail into the United States. Inmates in Ohio jails were the end recipients of the packages.


Tanya Baird, 46, of South Africa, was arrested by federal agents in March 2022 at John Glenn International Airport.


According to court documents, Baird obtained K2 from China and saturated legal documents with the substance in South Africa before mailing the papers to the United States.


“This office will not tolerate anyone sending controlled substances into jails or prisons in our District, no matter the method,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “Such conduct will earn individuals their own place in prison, as highlighted by Baird’s sentencing today.”


For example, in June 2021, Baird mailed at least eight packages each containing 30 pieces of saturated paper to an inmate in an Ohio prison.


Another individual sometimes received packages from Baird containing legal privileged documents that were saturated in K2. The individual would then send the legal documents into Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction facilities and collect proceeds from inmates. The proceeds were then sent to Baird via CashApp or PayPal.


In total, import records showed 69 packages being sent from Baird into the United States from June through August 2021, 34 of which were destined for the Southern District of Ohio. Multiple recipients of the packages from Baird had been in communication with or attended visits with current Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction inmates.


Baird pleaded guilty in June 2022 to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute K2.


Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Orville O. Greene, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; and officials with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the sentence imposed today by U.S. District Judge Sarah D. Morrison. Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Hunter is representing the United States in this case.


This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.


# # #

Drug Trafficking
Updated December 15, 2022