On Saturday morning, detectives at Massachusetts State Police Troop F received intelligence from law enforcement officials in Sacramento County, California, about two people flying into Logan International Airport transporting a large quantity of marijuana in several suitcases.
The suspects, a man and a woman arriving on an American Airlines flight out of Sacramento, were identified as JERRY McNAIR, 48, and LADONNA HARDMAN, 57, both of California.
Based on the intelligence received, Massachusetts State Police Troopers, along with two federal Homeland Security Investigations agents, initiated surveillance at a gate in Terminal B in advance of the flight’s 6 p.m. arrival. Other Troopers set up surveillance at the secure side baggage area awaiting arrival of the flight’s luggage.
The surveillance team at the gate identified McNAIR and HARDMAN as they exited the flight and surveilled them to the baggage claim area, where the suspects met with an unidentified woman.
Once the suspects retrieved their luggage, investigators approached and identified themselves. They also observed the third person retrieve her own luggage, which bore striking similarities in appearance to the luggage retrieved by the two known suspects. Based on that observations investigators approached that woman as well.
McNAIR and HARDMAN refused to consent to a search of their luggage. At that time both were placed under arrest for possession of a Class D substance, marijuana, with intent to distribute, and were transported along with their luggage to the State Police-Logan barracks. The third person consented to come back to State Police Logan to be further interviewed.
At State Police-Logan, the third traveler was identified as SAUDIA WATSON, 37, also of California. WATSON consented to a search of her two pieces luggage; inside her luggage Troopers found 51 clear plastic bags containing marijuana with an approximate weight of more than 50 lbs. Troopers arrested WATSON for trafficking marijuana.
Next, Troopers wrote and were granted two search warrants for the luggage secured from McNAIR and HARDMAN. That search resulted in the discovery of 49 additional plastic bags of marijuana, also with an approximate weight of more than 50 lbs., in HARDMAN’s luggage and the same approximate amount — 50 plastic bags containing more than 50 lbs. in marijuana — in McNAIR’s luggage.
As a result of those discoveries, Troopers charged McNAIR and HARDMAN with trafficking marijuana as well. All three suspects were additionally charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws. They were held at the barracks and are expected to be arraigned today in East Boston District Court.
(Photo courtesy Massachusetts State Police).