By City News Service
A woman who recruited couriers to smuggle pound quantities of fentanyl and heroin through three Southern California airports, including Burbank, faced sentencing Friday.
Chavon “Amber” Sayles, 31, pleaded guilty in November to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Federal prosecutors say that from June 2018 to March 2019, Sayles and co-conspirators recruited couriers to transport heroin and fentanyl through Hollywood Burbank Airport, Long Beach Airport and Ontario International Airport to Ohio, Oregon and elsewhere in the nation.
Sayles contacted the couriers the night before the flight and then booked their travel, court papers show.
The couriers would then receive a bag containing concealed pound quantities of drugs and they would be responsible for checking it in at the airport.
In June 2018, a co-conspirator, for whom Sayles purchased a plane ticket the night before, checked a bag at Hollywood Burbank Airport containing 6 1/2 pounds of heroin intended for delivery to other co-conspirators in Ohio, prosecutors said. The co-conspirator later checked into the airport with a bag containing 3.2 pounds of heroin, according to the indictment.
A letter from Sayles’ attorney to the court asks for a sentence that avoids incarceration.
“Ms. Sayles realizes she was a contributor to a terrible epidemic,” attorney Brett Greenfield wrote. “She realizes she was short-sighted and selfish in her actions and has done and will continue to do everything in her power to prove to this court that she can be a positive contributor to society going forward.”
Various co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to federal narcotics charges in connection with the case.
First published in the September 9 print issue of the Burbank Leader.