Teenager caught smuggling 30lbs of cocaine into US faces 15 years in jail
Published 27/10/2011 | 15:06
A BRITISH teenager is facing up to 15 years in jail after being caught smuggling 30lbs of cocaine into America.
Ayesha Olivia Niles, 18, was arrested on October 21 after she was picked out for screening by customs offices at Miami Airport in Florida.
Agents found the packs of cocaine stuffed into 24 boxes of cake mix.
Niles, who turned 18 on Monday while being held in a juvenile detention centre, had flown into Miami on an overnight flight from Jamaica.
Prosecutors said she would be charged as an adult which means she could face a much lengthier jail sentence.
In Florida, one of the states with the toughest penalties, drug trafficking charges are punishable by up to life in prison with up to 15 years of minimum mandatory time.
Niles, a student, told police she did not know what drug she was carrying but suspected she was involved in some illegal activity, according to an arrest report.
Miami-Dade detective Nubia Azrak wrote that Niles "suspected that the activity she was involved in was suspicious but she did not question it".
Police said the teen, who is from London, was picked for screening by customs agents.
As they searched her two suitcases they found the class A drug hidden in the cake mix boxes.
It is not known if Niles was planning to continue with the drugs back to London are drop them off in Florida.
A police source said:" She is a classic drug mule who thought she could easily bring the drugs through an airport undetected."
Prosecutors said Niles was a "poster child" for how easily drug smugglers can corrupt young people.
"This young woman had her 18th birthday in a foreign jail, far from her home and her family, because she thought she could smuggle almost 30 pounds of cocaine through Miami," said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle.
"Sadly, she almost becomes a poster child for how easily the drug trade can corrupt our youth."
Miami-Dade Police Major. Charles Nanney said it was rare to find people transporting such a large amount of drugs at the airport, especially a young girl.
He said she was chosen to be searched due to enhanced security screening at the airport, one of America's busiest and gateway to the Caribbean islands.
Niles faces charges of trafficking cocaine and importation of a controlled substance.
She was arrested on October 21st and has been held at juvenile detention centre.
Her listed guardian, Sherise Kitson, refused to comment when contacted by a Florida newspaper.