Authorities found more than 170 pounds of marijuana inside suitcases after a flight from Seattle landed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
The Atlanta Police Department's Airport Drug Interdiction Unit made the discovery on May 26 when at least five suitcases were on their way to baggage claim, the agency said Friday in a statement.
Officers then arrested four people who retrieved the bags from baggage claim, according to police. Authorities said they ultimately recovered seven suitcases containing 174 pounds of marijuana valued at $700,000.
Nicole Golden, 47, was taken into custody around 5 p.m. ET after picking up a bag containing about 22 pounds of marijuana, according to the statement. Naly Tong, 29, and Keomanyvanh Tong, 33, were arrested around 7:30 p.m. after retrieving one bag each from baggage claim. The police department said both women had additional bags containing marijuana.
Keomanyvanh Tong had nearly 46 pounds of marijuana, and Naly Tong had 43.34 pounds, according to officials.
All three women have been charged with trafficking marijuana and remain in custody at the Clayton County Jail.
The fourth individual, Jarvis Sheppard, was arrested around 8:50 p.m. after getting two suitcases from baggage claim, police said. He had 63.28 pounds of marijuana, according to the statement.
Sheppard, 32, was charged with trafficking marijuana and taken to the Clayton County Jail. He was released Thursday morning, jail records show.
The four people who were arrested told police that either someone else packed the bags or that they were retrieving the bags for a different person, according to Atlanta police.
"Our advice is never travel with a bag that is not yours or one that you do not know the contents of and think twice before agreeing to retrieve someone else’s bag from an airport baggage claim," police said in the statement.