A 48-year-old woman has recently been sentenced for having been caught attempting to smuggle close to 2 pounds (856 grams) of cocaine through the Oakland International Airport. No one noticed the woman’s Spandex underwear was full of the illegal substance until she attempted to go through airport security in order to board her flight. Reports claim that at least 14 similar arrests have been made in connection to baggage handlers with the same airline, Southwest. The woman meant to pass the drugs on to another person for distribution when she reached her destination. She seems to have refused to be searched by one of the new image screening devices and was, thus, taken to a private room for a body search.
Although California law is quite strict when it comes to the possession of illegal narcotics such as cocaine (CA Health and Safety Code 11350), especially if intent to distribute can be proven, federal law is even harsher. According to the DEA’s (Drug Enforcement Agency) official website, federal trafficking penalties for trafficking cocaine (anywhere from 500-4999 grams mixture) includes a minimum 5 year and maximum 40 year prison sentence for a first offense. However, if anyone associated with the crime has been seriously injured, an individual person could be sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in federal prison and a fine of $5 million. A second offense results in even more severe penalties, including a minimum of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum of life in prison. Fines can reach upward of $8 million dollars for an individual person.