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Dulles CBP Intercepts 53-Pound Marijuana Load Destined to Paris, MWAA Police Arrest Maryland Woman

Release Date
Thu, 03/14/2024

CBP’s third major weed load seized at Dulles in the last month

STERLING, Va. – A Maryland woman was arrested on felony narcotics charges at Washington Dulles International Airport on Tuesday after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered more than 53 pounds of marijuana in her checked baggage.

Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority Police officers charged Sydney Lewis, 33, of Bryans City, Maryland, with felony possession with intent to distribute, transportation, and narcotics conspiracy charges.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 53 pounds of marijuana from a Paris-bound Maryland woman’s baggage on March 12, 2024, at Washington Dulles International Airport.
CBP officers found the marijuana wrapped in bed sheets in the traveler's suitcase.

While inspecting bags being loaded onto a Paris, France-bound flight, CBP officers discovered vacuum-sealed bags full of suspected marijuana in two suitcases. CBP officers then identified the traveler at the departure gate and escorted Lewis and the suitcases back to CBP’s inspection station.

CBP officers extracted 50 vacuum-sealed bags of a green, leafy substance from the suitcases and a field-test proved the substance was positive for marijuana. The marijuana weighed a combined 24.19 kilograms, or 53 pounds, five ounces. This load has a street value of about $250,000 in the United States. Depending on potency, this load could fetch two to three times more in Paris.

CBP officers turned Lewis and the marijuana over to Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police officers.

CBP has observed an increasing trend of United States-based growers and retailers shipping marijuana to Europe and Africa where high-quality weed can fetch prices many times higher than in the U.S. CBP officers usually see the marijuana being exported in smaller parcels, but occasionally officers encounter travelers carrying marijuana-stuffed suitcases.

CBP is seeing an increasing trend in passengers smuggling bulk amounts of marijuana overseas. Highly potent weed is fetching premium prices in Europe.
CBP is seeing an increasing trend in bulk marijuana smuggling to Europe where highly potent weed is fetching premium prices.

Recently, CBP officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized 73 pounds of marijuana being smuggled to Paris and 88 pounds of hashish destined to Brazil. Virginia State Police charged passengers in both cases for felony narcotics possession. And CBP officers at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport seized 32 pounds of marijuana being smuggled to London.

“Marijuana remains illegal federally. Travelers who gamble with their freedom by smuggling bulk amounts of marijuana for a little extra cash may find themselves on the losing end of that proposition,” said Marc E. Calixte, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Washington, D.C. “Customs and Border Protection officers are hard to bet against, and our officers will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that drug smugglers are held accountable.”

CBP officers and agents seized an average of 2,895 pounds of dangerous drugs every day at and between our nation’s air, sea, and land ports of entry. See CBP’s 2023 enforcement stats to see what other dangerous drugs CBP is encountering at our nation’s borders.

CBP's border security mission is led at our nation’s Ports of Entry by CBP officers and agriculture specialists from the Office of Field Operations. CBP screens international travelers and cargo and searches for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, invasive weeds and pests, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.

Learn more about what CBP accomplished during at "A Typical Day" and at www.CBP.gov.

Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on X (formerly Twitter) at @DFOBaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos, and CBP’s Office of Field Operations on Instagram at @cbpfieldops.

Last Modified: May 15, 2024