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California woman arrested at Gainesville Airport with 62 lbs of marijuana

Mandy Carlson

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

According to an arrest report from the Gainesville Police Department (GPD), Mandy Lee Carlson, 30, of Elk Grove, CA, was arrested at 8:29 a.m. on May 19 at the Gainesville Regional Airport and was charged with “Possess/Use Drug Paraphernalia” and “Trafficking in cannabis.”

On May 18, 2021, GPD received information from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office Airport Bureau, stating that Carlson had boarded an American Airlines flight in Sacramento with approximately 24 individual packages of marijuana, each weighing approximately 1 pound. A search of a law enforcement database found no ties to Gainesville, FL, or criminal history for Carlson.

GPD later learned that Carlson had not boarded her connecting flight in Dallas because of weather concerns, but the luggage had continued to the final destination of Gainesville Regional Airport. The luggage arrived in Gainesville and was secured inside an American Airlines office.

Carlson’s rescheduled flight arrived at the Gainesville airport at about 8:30 a.m. on May 19, where GPD detectives were waiting. They watched her retrieve her luggage from the American Airlines office and then detained her. They read her Miranda rights, and she reportedly refused to speak with them about the contents of the luggage. The detective wrote that the luggage “had several indicators consistent with shipping of illegal narcotics based on my training and experience. The DEFENDANT was traveling from a source city, California, which is a known source city for illegal narcotics (specifically cannabis) being shipped via parcel throughout the United States.”

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At about 9:30 a.m., a certified illegal narcotics detection K-9, Maverick, arrived. Maverick conducted a sniff search and positively alerted to the presence of illegal narcotics in the luggage.

GPD was then granted a search warrant, and a search found approximately 62 pounds of cannabis (each piece of luggage contained 24 individual packages of marijuana, each weighing approximately 1 pound) and men’s t-shirts.

Carlson remains in the Alachua County Jail.

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