By Ruth Manuel-Logan—
Kiana Howell (pictured left) and her cohort Makeeba Graham (pictured below) were arrested Sunday morning at New York’s JFK International Airport, when customs officials discovered more than two pounds of cocaine that had been secured in to their hair weaves, reports The Daily Caller.
The women had just arrived from Georgetown, Guyana, and according to officials, they were fidgeting and appeared uneasy as they approached the airport’s customs checkpoint. As the pair were patted down by customs officials, the officers allegedly felt bulges in their heads.
When asked to remove the weave, Howell said that she could not “because she had a package that was sewn in to it.” The woman then informed the customs officials that she did not know what was in there but that it had been secured to her head and that her Guyanese boyfriend “told her to bring that package under her hair weave to the United States for him.” The young woman also informed the officials that she had been promised $7,500 to “smuggle the package under her hair weave.”
Howell then had to be escorted to a medical facility, where her weave was dismantled. Reportedly, the young woman was carrying 996 grams of cocaine in her weave.
According to an affidavit sworn by Department of Homeland Security Agent Jeffrey Fidler, Graham also “had an unusually high and bulky hair style.” After a CBP agent “felt a hard object on the defendant’s head,” Graham, a 33-year-old Harlem resident, was “asked to remove her hair weave.” Graham informed the customs officers that her hair had been sewn to her head as well so she could not remove it. Like Howell, Graham was then taken to the medical facility where her weave was dismantled. Officials discovered that she had been harboring another 1,046 grams of the drug in her weave.
The powdered cocaine, which was camouflaged by Howell’s and Graham’s weaves, was reportedly wrapped in tight miniscule plastic packages and neatly affixed to the fake hair on each of the women’s scalps.
Howell and Graham were named Monday in separate felony criminal complaints, charging them with narcotics smuggling. Graham was freed on $100,000 bond, while Howell remains in custody in advance of a detention hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Does this mean that the airport customs folks are now going to roll up their sleeves and get busy in our hair? Say it ain’t so!