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Woman facing federal drug charges after traffic stop

A traffic stop that took place in July 2014 in Lehigh County has led to serious drug-related criminal charges for three women. Pennsylvania police were contacted by federal authorities and warned that the vehicle in question was believed to be in the area at the time, and may have had drugs on board. When a trooper observed the vehicle on Interstate 78, the truck was pulled over for allegedly tailgating another vehicle. This began a series of events that led to federal drug charges for three women who were travelling in the vehicle.

When the trooper asked permission to search the truck, the owner, a 56-year-old woman, said yes. Officers allegedly found 13 packages of a substance believed to be heroin. Lab analysis eventually confirmed that the packages held 10 kilograms of heroin. The street value of the drugs was estimated at approximately $13 million.

One of the women, 33 years of age, told police that she was unaware that the truck contained drugs when the trip originated three days earlier in Arizona. She stated that she was told that the trip was a "dry run" meant to teach her how to properly smuggle drugs, after she had been arrested in a previous attempt to transport illegal drugs. She stated that the owner of the truck was acting as the ringleader of the smuggling operation.

As the Pennsylvania case moves forward, additional information may become available. The three women are currently facing federal drug charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin, possession with intent to distribute and aiding and abetting. Should the younger woman continue to work with federal authorities, she may be able to mitigate her circumstances by negotiating a plea agreement. As of the time of this report, it is uncertain how the women will respond to the charges against them, although the fact that they were charged by information suggests that they may be planning to plead guilty.

Source: The Morning Call, "Arizona women face charges in Lehigh Valley heroin bust", Peter Hall, April 7, 2015

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