55-year-old Emmanuel Amankwa, who was busted at San Francisco International Airport back in October with over two pounds of cocaine pellets in his stomach, has pled guilty to possession of more than 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute. Amankwa was at SFO making a connection from Long Beach to Japan when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents noticed him walking awkwardly and clutching his stomach. Something about the 100 latex-wrapped pellets of cocaine Amankwa had swallowed just weren't sitting right with him.
Amankwa had something of a history as drug mule, it turned out. After ICE agents at SFO became suspicious, a background check revealed he was arrested in 1992 at JFK International in New York while trying to smuggle three pounds of heroin in a suitcase with a hidden compartment. (The oldest trick in the book!) In October, Amankwa claimed he was a spiritual counselor on his way to Japan, but couldn't give a consistent story about his travel plans, probably because he really needed to get to a bathroom.
When he was finally taken to a local hospital he passed 81 of the pellets, at which point he awkwardly had to admit there were another 19 of them coming. Medical staff apparently had to wait around awhile for the rest to work their way through his intestines.
Transporting 500 grams of cocaine or more is a federal offense that carries a maximum 40-year prison sentence. With the plea deal, however, prosecutors and Amankwa's defense are recommending the minimum five-year sentence or six years and eight months at most. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White will have the final say when Amankwa is sentenced on April 11th.