California woman sentenced to 364 days in Alachua County Jail for bringing 62 pounds of marijuana on plane to Gainesville


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Mandy Lee Carlson, 31, of California, has been sentenced to 364 days in the Alachua County Jail; she was arrested at the Gainesville Airport in 2021 with 62 pounds of marijuana.

On May 18, 2021, Gainesville Police Department (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. [Carlson] 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.”

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.

On January 27, 2023, Carlson entered a plea of nolo contendere to possession of cannabis with intent to sell and transportation of drug paraphernalia, both third-degree felonies. She was sentenced to 364 days in the Alachua County Jail, followed by 24 months of community control, which may be transferred to California. She will be prohibited from using alcohol or illegal drugs and will be subject to random drug/alcohol screens. She was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and $100 in prosecution costs.

  • We want people like her TO MOVE TO California, not MOVE HERE FROM THERE.

    Maybe we can exchange a swap, Harvey “Two Face” for her.

  • That amount was not for medical or personal use. Obviously for intent to sell. 3 years in the State Women’s Prison should have been given not the County jail.
    Very light sentence!

  • California Dems’ anti-Asian reverse discrimination must be driving this drug trade now. They want them dumb and on welfare like everybody else over there. All she had to do was move to a Red state and she’d be on a cushy scholarship with job offers instead. I hope they find out who her sales contacts are here in Fla.

  • How does 24 one-pound packages equal 62 pounds? Can we see pictures of the weed instead of the woman?

  • The government needs to outlaw alcohol and leave the weed alone. Alcohol destroys lives. Weed doesn’t.

  • Nothing but racist swine in the comments today. That’s alot of time for weed. You crybaby hicks are hilarious.

  • If this woman had put the weed in her suit case and travelled by Greyhound bus she would have never been caught. I know this because I put weed in a small amount in my carry on bag and travelled from Birmingham to Gainesville by Greyhound bus and never got caught.

  • I know it’s weed, but THAT MUCH and she only gets 364 days?! What a complete joke- this State Attorney is pitifully soft on crime.
    Combined with a decimated Police Department that’s gradually defunded by this woke city commission, Gainesville truly is circling the drain. It’s getting embarrassing to say I’m from Gainesville, FL

  • If marijuana were completely legal we wouldn’t have anyone smuggling the weed from California. Marijuana is harmless. Alcohol is much more harmful but it’s legal and that doesn’t make sense to me. Our legal system has no comments sense.

  • Mandy Lee Carlson comes from California, which has a different culture about marijuana. I visited my sister’s home in Durango, Colorado, two months ago. We visited my sister’s former home, a log cabin house on top of a small mountain. The new owner was very proud to show off the small patch of marijuana that she was growing. Then we visited the man next door. He had constructed a small hot house with at least one hundred marijuana plants. He explained that it was legal to grow marijuana so long as you only gave it away to friends.

    The cavalier attitude in Colorado engenders an entirely different attitude among its citizens. U.S. Olympic track star Brittney Griner in Russia exhibited this attitude. She took CDB oil to Russia. Mandy Lee Carlson may have looked at marijuana use as a necessity. Twenty-four pounds of marijuana could have been for personal consumption, with some to share. At home in California, this is a don’t care product.

    Our court system handled the California woman’s weed situation well. However, I have a lot of sympathy for her.

  • The democrats got the people of color hooked on the weed and fentanyl…a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

    • You’re one stupid person. And the Republicans got white people hooked on opioids and methamphetamine.

    • Not only people of color. Go back and look at a weeks worth of these mugshots. It’s pretty even. Shaquanda, you don’t get hooked on weed. No one goes through withdrawals coming off of weed at all like they do when abusing substances.

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