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Apr 6, 2012 6:41 AM by Kate Richards

Leader of heroin ring facing decade in prison

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A leader of an international heroin smuggling ring that ran large amounts of drugs from Ghana through Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia is facing at least 10 years in prison.

Sixty-two-year-old Edward Macauley was arrested in his home country of Ghana last year and extradited to Virginia to face federal charges.

He pleaded guilty in January and is being sentenced at U.S. District Court in Alexandria on Friday. He faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years. Prosecutors are seeking 14 years.

Macauley is one of 12 defendants who've been charged. The organization recruited Ghanaian citizens living legally in the U.S. to act as couriers. They were paid up to $15,000 a trip to smuggle as much as $250,000 worth of heroin, typically by packing the drugs in the lining of carry-on bags.

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