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British woman gets extended Boston stay after Customs agents find 70 pounds of pot in her luggage, DA says

A London resident was sent to the Suffolk County jail yesterday after she couldn't make the $1,500 bail set at her arraignment for trafficking between 50 and 100 pounds of marijuana, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.

According to the DA's office, Fareedat Folunsho, 19, was arrested before boarding a plane to London at Logan Airport on Sunday - making her the second London-bound woman arrested at the airport on a marijuana trafficking charge in the past two months - the DA's office says. A Michigan woman was arrested on March 31,

In addition to bail, East Boston Municipal Court Judge Joseph Griffin ordered Folunsho to surrender her passport. She next faces a probable-cause hearing on May 21.

At about 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, a Massachusetts state trooper was dispatched to the U.S. Customs Hall for a woman in custody, later identified as Folunsho, for attempting to fly back to the United Kingdom with approximately 70 pounds of marijuana.

Based on a $5,000/pound street value, Folunsho's shipment of what is considered an illegal drug in the UK would have netted about $350,000 in London, the DA's office says.

In a statement, DA Kevin Hayden put budding potrepreneurs with passports on notice:

These two arrests in a fairly short time span should make it quite clear to anyone else trying to fly marijuana to the U.K. through Boston that it’s not a good idea, to say the least. It didn’t work for these two women and it’s not likely to work for anyone else either.

Innocent, etc..

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Comments

...after U.S. Customs and State Police involvement. Airport jurisdiction must be very complex.

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For Tito?

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How she could have thought for one moment "This ought to work."

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In spite of the extremely cyclical nature of employment in the aerospace sector, you'll find that very few low-level criminals are actually unemployed rocket scientists.

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People like her are why there are multiple signs in the Montreal airport, before you get to security or US customs*, reminding everyone that marijuana is illegal in the United States. It is, of course, well known that many people don't read signs, but the people who run the airport are trying to help.

*"Pre-clearance" means that people flying into the U.S. from Canada go through US customs and immigration in Canada, before getting on the plane.

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She was travelling, or attempting to travel, from Massachusetts, where weed is legal, to the UK, where it isn’t. She’s probably lucky she got caught leaving, rather than arriving.

The thing that struck me was that she was travelling with 70-100 lbs. of anything. That’s some seriously overweight baggage. How do you check a 100 lb suitcase? Or was it 5 suitcases?

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Did she pay the overweight fee for one bag or the extra surcharge for two bags?

They should deduct that cost from the estimated value of the weed.

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there is concurrent jurisdiction. Feds because of the subject matter, the border, and special aviation jurisdiction. The state has jurisdiction because, it's in the state.

Drunk and disorderly airline passengers also occasionally pass through East Boston District Court.

I wonder if she was caught by a dog

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I thought District= Fed and Municipal = City, or State, I guess? We didn't have Civics :-)

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The federal courts are divided into eleven "circuits", which are divided into 94 districts, at least one per state. Then a district may have multiple courthouses. Massachusetts is the Massachusetts district of the first circuit. which sits in Boston, Springfield, and Worcester.

Most of the people arrested by airport police, the FBI, or other federal agencies are charged with violating state laws, and those cases go to state, county, or municipal courts.

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I understand the various levels, but it does seem weird that an international drug smuggling case would be bounced down to the lowest level court there is, especially given the federal government's refusal to liberalize pot laws.

Anyway, thanks for summary!

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on cannabis legalization?

I've been pleased by the overall lack of federal enforcement against cannabis in states that have legalized it—but also a little confused. It seems like there's some sensitivity to how this would play out in public opinion.

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I suppose they would have let her through.

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