Jury finds pair accused of smuggling pot in airplane luggage not guilty


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ST. THOMAS - A federal jury found a man and woman not guilty of drug charges they faced after accusations that they were involved in the transport of 19 pounds of marijuana in airplane luggage last summer.

Aumon Siddique stood trial in District Court with Teddy Bryan on charges of possession with intent to distribute narcotics and conspiracy to distribute narcotics.

The jury decided late Friday evening that the evidence was insufficient to convict them after a trial that began Thursday.

A third defendant, Melroy Burgan, pleaded guilty to similar charges in November.

Federal prosecutors said Siddique flew into King Airport on a Spirit Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Aug. 17 with Burgan. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents arrested both Siddique and Burgan upon their arrival at the airport.

Bryan was arrested later, in September, though it is unclear what Bryan's role was. The indictment, detailing his role, is under seal per a request from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In the criminal complaints against Siddique and Burgan, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents detailed their actions prior to and during the arrest of Siddique and Burgan.

After Siddique and Burgan arrived at the airport, a K-9 Unit dog from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol inspected the luggage from the flight before passengers retrieved their suitcases.

Agents said they found bundles of marijuana packed in carbon paper in two pieces of luggage after the dog indicated that the luggage might contain an illegal substance.

After agents made the discovery, they released the luggage to see who would pick it up, according to court documents.

Burgan and Siddique picked up three bags, two of which had marijuana packed inside, according to court documents.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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