JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville woman was arrested on charges of trafficking a large quantity of marijuana into Florida from California.
According to an arrest warrant, Albany Bisch, 23, was taken into custody at her apartment. Investigators said the arrest comes nine months after she and another woman smuggled 55 pounds of marijuana into Jacksonville on a flight that originated in Sacramento.
It’s not the first story like this News4JAX has covered at the airport. Since April of last year, authorities said they have seized more than 500 pounds of marijuana flown into the airport from California.
Just last week, the Florida Highway Patrol said 125 pounds of pot were found stuffed in suitcases seized in a traffic stop near JAX. Troopers noted that there were baggage claim tickets connected to the luggage.
According to the warrant, back on April 30, Bisch and a woman from Orange Park had checked two suitcases filled with vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana on a United Airlines flight from Sacramento, California to Jacksonville.
Investigators said the luggage was reported by an airport security official who contacted federal agents, and by the time the women arrived in Jacksonville, members of a drug task force were waiting on them and kept surveillance on their movement.
Investigators said the women grabbed the luggage and then proceeded to the airport parking lot where they handed the luggage over to a man, identified as Omar Alvarado, who placed the luggage in the back of a Lexus and drove off.
State troopers said they pulled the Lexus over and arrested Alvarado on charges of trafficking a large quantity of marijuana.
Nine months later, Bisch was picked up on a warrant and has bonded out of jail. It appears the other woman has not been captured yet.
Since April of last year, eight people have been arrested for trafficking large amounts of marijuana from California through JAX.
Jacksonville DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mike Dubet says every pound of marijuana smuggled on flights into Jacksonville from California is not meant to be sold at legal medical marijuana dispensaries.
“This is sales occurring under the cover of darkness,” he said. “These are deals in which both dealers and customers arrive at the scene with handguns and other weapons.”
But not all the seized weed comes into JAX by way of commercial flights.
Two months ago, News4JAX reported the arrest of 52-year old De Zhong Wang and 27-year old Hui Lee who were arrested on marijuana trafficking charges during a traffic stop after they left the airport.
According to investigators, the pair were under surveillance by a drug task force and were seen loading boxes of marijuana into their vehicle that was parked at an air-freight hanger after a freight plane flew into Jacksonville from the West Coast. The pair were arrested after driving away from the airport.