Grandmother Caught Smuggling $600,000 Worth of Cocaine: Feds
Authorities say a Phoenix woman was caught while trying to fly with a trove of drugs from Las Vegas to Detroit.
A 63-year-old grandmother was arrested earlier this month after authorities say she carried more than $500,000 worth of drugs aboard a flight from Las Vegas to Detroit.
Cheryl Cheatham was arrested at the Detroit Airport October 14 after DEA agents reportedly observed her acting suspiciously near the baggage carousel.
Agents followed Cheatham as she took two suitcases and hailed a taxi, which drove her to a hotel. According to a DEA report obtained by KPHO, she did not check into the hotel.
Instead, officials say Cheatham later got inside a waiting hired car with the two suitcases in tow.
Michigan State troopers were told to stop the vehicle, at which point a search was conducted.
The DEA said drugs were found in each bag. In one bundle, the agency says there were eight individually-wrapped kilos of suspected cocaine. The other bundle allegedly contained 9 wrapped kilos.
Cheatham was arrested on a charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Cheatham's attorney, Todd Shanker, argued at a hearing Monday that his client has serious mental health issues and needs to be in a mental health facility.
"At best, this looks like a mule situation,” Shanker said. "When all is said and done... I think she needs help."
Magistrate Judge David R. Grand chose to deny Cheatham bond and scolded her for poor decision-making.
"People make bad choices when they’re younger," he told the grandmother. "Here we are in 2016, and you’re caught with this substantial amount of narcotics."
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