Three women were busted at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport for carrying about $3 million in opium.
Pa Yang, 57; Mai Vue Vang, 58; and True Thao, 52, were coming back to the United States from Laos via Japan’s Narita Airport, theU.S. Customs and Border Protection officials told ABC7 in Chicago.
The women, who were arrested Tuesday, arrived at the airport carrying the opium in their luggage.
It started routinely with an officer asking the women, who are U.S. citizens, about coming back from Japan. Their answers aroused suspicion and officers opened their bags.
“Each passenger’s luggage was found to contain bags of tea leaves. Once we opened those bags we found the individual packages of a brown substance that tested positive for opium,” Piccirilli told ABC7.
There were 470 packets of opium concealed in tea bags, weighing nearly 70 pounds.
They appeared in court on Wednesday and a judge set a bond for $50,000 each, the Chicago Tribune reported. They will appear in court again on June 2.
The street value of the drugs is estimated at $3 million.
The women, who are all from Minnesota, were charged with with manufacturing or delivery of narcotics.
“Today is a great example of how the officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection work daily to stop the illegal drug flow into the United States,” Matthew Davies, Chicago Area Port Director, said in the statement via CBS Chicago. “Even though these would-be smugglers are trying new concealment methods each and every day, I just want to remind them that if they try to get through Chicago, we will catch them!”