An airport security supervisor in Ghana has been indicted for helping an international drug ring smuggle heroin into the United States through the Dulles International Airport.
The West African drug operation paid couriers up to $15,000 per trip to transport kilos of heroin, either in carry-on luggage or stitched into a wig of artificial hair, according to the U.S. Attorney Office for Eastern Virginia.
Kotoka International Airport security supervisor Edmund Darkwah, 37, was charged with conspiracy to import heroin and two counts of heroin distribution. He faces 10 years to life in prison for each count, prosecutors said.
Darkwah is in the custody of law enforcement in Ghana, and awaits extradition.
According to charging documents, the smugglers brought the couriers to the airport in Accra, Ghana, to meet with Darkwah. Prosecutors said Darkwah helped escort the couriers through the airport, and was paid $2,000 for each time he assisted a courier.
The organization, led by Edward Macauley, 61, of Ghana, smuggled heroin to distributors in D.C., Baltimore, Northern Virginia and New York.
Macauley recruited Matilda Antwi, 29, of Alexandria to smuggle 1.2 kilograms of heroin in September on a United Airlines flight from Accra to Dulles, court papers allege.
Another Alexandria woman was arrested in May in a related case, prosecutors said. U.S. Customs officials in Dulles arrested Yvonne Ansah Owusu, 26, after discovering a bulge in the lining of her luggage and 3.3 kilograms of heroin. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 51 months in prison in October.
Eleven people, including Macauley, have been charged in connection with the case. Macauley and three others have been extradited to the United States and made an initial appearance in federal court in Alexandria earlier this month. The 11 defendants are scheduled for trial on Jan. 31.