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Contraband
06/13/2008

74-year-old woman arrested and charged with smuggling heroin at Ft. Lauderdale Airport

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Field Operations in Miami assisted in the arrest on June 12, 2008 of Maria Resfa Garzon De Arenas. Garzon De Arenas was charged with importation of heroin into the United States and possession with intent to distribute heroin. She made her initial appearance in court on June 13 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of up to life imprisonment.

According to the complaint affidavit, Garzon De Arenas arrived at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport at approximately 3 p.m. on June 12 from Bogota, Colombia. During the inspection of Garzon De Arenas' personal belongings, U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel discovered several personal effects in her luggage in which heroin was concealed. The heroin was sewn within the lining of notebook binders, a jewelry case, and in a false cavity of women's slippers. A field test of the contents of several of the suspect packages tested positive for the presence of heroin. The approximate weight of the heroin was 6.5 pounds, valued at $180,000.

Garzon De Arenas will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer on Wednesday, June 18, 2008 for her detention hearing.

R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection's Field Operations in Miami. This case is being prosecuted by Robin Waugh-Farretta, Assistant United States Attorney.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov