Due to health issues, Linda Hansen, a retiree, was given the weekend before she has to turn herself into the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center on a charge of trafficking marijuana, said Phil Price, commander of the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad.
The packages, which Price estimated weighed 46 pounds and were worth $200,000 on the street, were delivered by a commercial shipping carrier to Hansen’s home on Oak Haven Drive, after being intercepted and tracked by police, Price said.
Agents believe Hansen acted as a “go-between,” having the drugs shipped to her house off East Cherokee Drive to be picked up by her friend Sylvia Joyce Hyder, 56, of Tucker.
Price said he was surprised by Hansen’s suspected involvement in the coast-to-coast drug trafficking ring.
“She does not, as far as we know, have any kind of criminal record,” he said Friday. “It’s a little bit surprising to see somebody who’s retired getting into this kind of trouble at that age.”
Hansen’s health issues also make the case unusual. The commander declined to say what problems she had with her health, but he said her condition makes it so officers want to make sure she is OK before heading into jail.
“This is not a bondable offense,” Price said. “She would be there for some period of time. We don’t want to do any damage, so we gave her the option to turn herself in.”
The commander said he expected a time for Hansen to turn herself in to be worked out Monday.
Hansen and her friend were caught after one of the packages was intercepted by the Douglas Inter-Agency Narcotics Unit in Roseburg, Ore., who worked with Cherokee officers and the shipping company to track the contraband across the country, Price said.
CMANS officers set up surveillance on Hansen’s house and watched as two packages were delivered by the carrier. Then, they waited as Hyder came to pick them up, Price said. She was arrested on a charge of trafficking marijuana and taken to the Cherokee County jail.
Narcotics officers in Cherokee and Oregon are working to find the person who sent the packages to Hansen’s house and to decide where they will be charged.
“We think we have a name. I’m not ready to give it out because he hasn’t been charged,” Price said. “But we do think there will be at least one other arrest in this.”
Locally, Price didn’t believe anyone else was involved.