A year in the workhouse is the sentence for a Minneapolis woman caught trying to sneak more than 33 pounds of opium from the Far East into the United States, only to be nabbed at the Twin Cities airport.
Ma Lee Vue, 35, pleaded guilty in Hennepin County District Court to three felony drug counts in connection with her attempt to smuggle the opium in her luggage through the customs checkpoint in March at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Vue was arriving in the Twin Cities from Bangkok with a connecting flight in Tokyo. During baggage inspection, officers noted “an unusually large amount of dried beverage powder” belonging to the woman, Customs and Border Protection spokesman Lee Takaki said in a statement soon after Vue’s arrest.
The officers opened a packet marked as green tea mix and found a dry brown powder that tested positive for opium, Takaki said. In total, 33.5 pounds of opium — which most likely originated in Bangkok — was collected and seized, he said.
Vue’s sentence last week calls for 365 days in the workhouse, with credit for seven days served upon her arrest. After the first six months, she would become eligible to serve the balance under electronic home monitoring.
She also was ordered to pay more than $1,000 in various court fees and has a potential prison term of more than 81/2 years hanging over her head for five years in case she violates any terms of her sentence involving certain employment and educational requirements.