CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina woman pleaded guilty on Monday while two others from Jamaica face sentencing in federal court on separate charges relating to attempting to smuggle cocaine into the United States. In each case, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) intercepted the smuggled drugs.
“Narcotics interdiction at our nation’s international ports of entry remains an enforcement priority for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers,” said Patty Fitzpatrick, CBP Port Director for the Port of Charlotte. “These convictions send a clear message that narcotics smugglers face stiff consequences for attempting to import their deadly drugs into our communities.”
- According to filed plea documents at Monday’s hearing, Shavona Danisha Pyatt, 28, of Conway, NC arrived at CLT on November 13, 2015, on a direct flight from Montego Bay, Jamaica. During inspection, CBP officers discovered that Pyatt was attempting to smuggle into the United States cocaine pellets hidden inside her luggage and in her pants. A total of 61 pellets containing between 400 grams to 500 grams of cocaine were recovered from Pyatt.
- In a separate case, Winston Sherif Richards, 40, of Jamaica, was sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. According to court records, in October 2015, Richards was arrested when he attempted to smuggle cocaine through customs security at CLT. Court records show that CBP officers found two bags of cocaine weighing approximately 822 grams, hidden within the lining of Richard’s backpack.
- In a third case, Tamara Williams-Kelly, 37, of Jamaica also pleaded guilty to federal drug charges. According to court records, Williams-Kelly flew into Charlotte Douglas International Airport from Jamaica in February 2016. At the airport, CBP officers recovered a total of 1.57 kilograms of packaged powdered cocaine hidden in the defendant’s carry-on luggage and on her person. Williams-Kelly pleaded guilty on April 29, 2016 to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, one count of unlawful importation of cocaine conspiracy, and one count of unlawful importation of cocaine. She is currently in federal custody awaiting sentencing.
View Jill Westmorland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina news release for more information.
These three cases stem from the collaborative efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies, to include CBP, ICE/Homeland Security Investigations, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, North Carolina Department of Public Safety-Divisions of Alcohol Law Enforcement and Department of Corrections.
On a typical day during 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 9,435 pounds of drugs across the United States. CBP officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen individuals, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while also facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. CBP Office of Field Operations is committed to securing our borders and cooperates with other law enforcement agencies in the enforcement of U.S. laws at the nation's borders. To learn more about how CBP secures our nation’s borders, please visit www.CBP.gov.