• Jamaican national caught smuggling cocaine at Charlotte airport pleads guilty

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Christopher Anthony Samuels, 37, of Montego Bay, Jamaica, appeared in federal court and pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and importation related charges, officials said.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested Samuels and another Jamaican national late last year after they allegedly found more than 6 pounds of cocaine in their luggage at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

    [RELATED: Feds: Airport workers used flights to distribute meth]

    Officials said the arrests happened on two separate occasions, just two days apart, and both men flew to Charlotte Douglas from Jamaica.

    The first arrest occurred on Nov. 4, 2018 when CBP officials said 25-year-old Jamaican citizen Keshon Hawthorne arrived in Charlotte on a flight from Montego Bay. 

    According to officials, a white powdery substance that field-tested positive for cocaine was discovered during an inspection of his luggage.

    [RELATED: Three young children taken from suspected drug house in Chesterfield County]

    Officials said two days later, Samuels landed at Charlotte Douglas from Montego Bay and was detained after it was determined he used his luggage to smuggle cocaine.

    Christopher Anthony Samuels, 37, of Montego Bay, Jamaica, appeared in federal court Tuesday and pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and importation related charges, officials said.

    “Our CBP officers continue to demonstrate daily vigilance and excellence in detecting those who would try to smuggle illegal narcotics,” said CBP Acting Area Port Director Charlotte Barry Chastain in November.  “These arrests demonstrate CBP’s vigilance and dedication to securing the homeland and safeguarding our citizens.”

    [RELATED: Deputies: Marijuana, cocaine, $146K seized in Catawba County drug bust]

    Both men were arrested for the importation of a controlled substance and turned over to Homeland Security Investigations and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. 

    The total weight of cocaine seized was more than 6 pounds, with an estimated street value of $90,000.

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