Couple arrested for trying to smuggle marijuana through airport during government shutdown

A Texas couple tried to smuggle nearly 70 pounds of marijuana in suitcases through Bush International Airport during the government shutdown, according to authorities.

Officials said Narueen Nooralla Gheewalla-Fayyaz, 28, and Osama Fayyaz, 29, of Richmond, Tex., were arrested Jan. 14 after they flew into the Houston airport from Sacramento, KPRC-TV reported Monday.

Court records say a Transportation Security Administration officer in Sacramento told a deputy they saw what was believed to be marijuana in a suitcase belonging to Gheewalla-Fayyaz, the station reported. The deputy contacted police in Houston.

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The TSA was one of the government agencies impacted by the 35-day government shutdown over President Trump’s demands to Congress for a border wall with Mexico. The shutdown ended Jan. 25.

The court documents say Fayyaz was “visibly nervous and was trembling” when officers approached him in the baggage claim area at Bush airport, according to the station.

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According to the court documents, a search of the couple’s seven bags turned up 66 pounds of marijuana, the station reported.

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The couple issued a statement, denying the charges, KPRC reported.

In 2017, Fayyaz and his wife were accused of trying to smuggle 18 pounds of marijuana in suitcases after deputies searched their vehicle during a traffic stop in rural Texas, the Houston Chronicle reported.