- NEW YORK (CNN) --
The wife of a senior U.S. Army colonel who was in charge of anti-drug efforts
in Colombia turned herself in to authorities on Thursday after being charged
with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
- Laurie Anne Hiett, the wife of U.S. Army Col. James Hiett,
was served with an arrest warrant in late June after a package containing
2.7 pounds of cocaine was mailed from the U.S. military base in Bogota
with her name on the return address label, according to an affidavit.
- A Pentagon official told CNN that Mrs. Hiett surrendered
in New York City. As a result of the case, the U.S. military investigated
Col. Hiett and cleared him of any wrongdoing.
- The Village Voice, a New York weekly newspaper, first
broke the story about the arrest warrant and CNN later obtained documents
related to the case.
- According to the affidavit, undercover U.S. postal inspectors
and New York City police officers delivered the package from Mrs. Hiett
-- wrapped in a brown paper bag about 12x4x6 inches -- to an address in
New York on May 25 and later questioned a man who tried to flee the residence.
- Inside the house, authorities found a second bag of cocaine
and $13,000. The man said he had received about five or six shipments of
cocaine sent from Bogota and that he had been paid $1,500 for each of the
previous packages, according to the affidavit.
- The affidavit says Mrs. Hiett was interviewed and "stated
that she had sent six packages to New York through the mail on behalf of
her husband's chauffeur. She claimed that she did not know the contents
of the packages she had shipped."
- A spokesman for the U.S. Southern Command told CNN the
husband, Col. Hiett, was investigated by the U.S. military after the incident
occurred and has been cleared of any wrong-doing.
- The Army said Col. Hiett requested and was granted a
transfer from Bogota, where he was in charge of the U.S. military group
providing assistance to the Colombian government's counter-narcotics effort.