Two Quantico Marines received pounds of heroin in the mail
Two women have pleaded guilty to receiving pounds of heroin in the mail for $1,500 a package while they were active duty Marines stationed at Quantico.
Maurissa Sanchez and Amanda Hall, both 24-year-old lance corporals, were discharged earlier this year after investigators learned of their roles in the heroin importation scheme, court documents filed in Alexandria's federal court said. Each received packages believed to hold more than two pounds of heroin before the scheme was disrupted by police in Peru, who intercepted a third package destined for Sanchez's home in Stafford.
Both women were approached by a third, unnamed Marine who offered them the cash in exchange for receiving the packages, they admitted. The third Marine also was based in Quantico, but has not yet been charged with a crime, court documents said. Calls to a Marine spokeswoman at Quantico were not immediately returned Wednesday.
The package sent to Hall arrived in the summer of 2006, she admitted. When she was first approached by her co-worker, she was told she would be receiving uncut gems, but when she pressed her fellow Marine further she was told it was a controlled substance. It was the only drug package Hall received, court documents said.
Sanchez never asked what would be inside the package, she admitted. But prosecutors said in court documents that she "knew or was willfully blind to the fact that the packages that she agreed to accept would contain a controlled substance."
The first package arrived at Sanchez's doorstep in March 2007, she admitted. A few months later, Sanchez agreed to receive a second package, but it never arrived.
That's because the second package was intercepted by the Peruvian National Police in September 2007, court documents said. It was sent via DHL and picked up by police at the airport in Lima. Inside, police found 3.5 pounds of heroin hidden in the seams of clothing that were stuffed into the box.
Hall has been sentenced to one year in prison and three years probation. Sanchez faces up to life in prison when she's sentenced on Monday, although prosecutors have suggested in court documents that she spend five years behind bars. Sanchez's attorney has argued that she should receive the same sentence as Hall.
By: FREEMAN KLOPOTT
Examiner Staff Writer
September 24, 2009