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Cops and Courts

Bail bondswoman accused of accepting meth in the mail

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    Malinda Hughes

    LORAIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

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LORAIN — A bail bondswoman who allegedly received methamphetamine in the mail was charged with a federal drug crime following a sting operation by U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Malinda Hughes, 35, of West 30th Street in Lorain, was arrested Wednesday on one count of knowingly possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine. She was booked Wednesday into Lorain County Jail, and released Thursday, apparently into federal custody.

According to a criminal complaint filed Thursday by a U.S. postal inspector in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Hughes accepted an Express Mail parcel addressed to a “Tiffany White” from a return address in Houston — a package that federal agents said contained 14 ounces of meth.

A Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office dog alerted agents to the presence of drugs in the package, and a federal search warrant revealed pills that tested positive for the presence of meth, according to the complaint.

That same day, postal inspectors, DEA agents and detectives from the Lorain Police Narcotics and Special Investigations Unit and Elyria Police Narcotics Unit delivered the package — now containing a GPS tracker — to its destination address in the 2100 block of West 30th Street. There, an undercover postal inspector dressed as a U.S. Postal Service delivery person met Hughes, who allegedly identified herself as “Tiffany” and accepted the package.

Ten minutes after the delivery was made, the GPS unit notified agents that the package had been opened, according to the complaint. Two detectives then watched Hughes start to leave the property in a silver Chevrolet Impala, then “abruptly pull back towards the house parking on the front lawn, exit the vehicle and run back inside the residence,” according to the complaint.

The detectives also allegedly saw Hughes “throw two items, later identified as the methamphetamine pills and the GPS, from the 2nd story window in the rear of the residence,” where they were recovered by postal inspectors, the complaint stated.

The empty package was found inside the Impala, along with a 3-year-old child and a dog, according to the complaint. Hughes was detained, read her rights, questioned and allegedly said she accepted the package believing a friend was sending her a birthday gift.

“Hughes stated she ran inside the house because she saw the GPS when she opened the package,” according to the complaint. “Hughes states he did not know what was inside the package” and was on her way to throw it out when she was arrested.

Hughes also allegedly said she had a friend named Tiffany but “would not elaborate on any additional identifiers for her friend Tiffany” and showed little emotion over her arrest, according to the complaint.

Hughes also told postal inspectors she works as a bail bondsman. A woman with the same name is listed on a website for T-Bonds Bail Bonds.

Contact Dave O’Brien at 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.
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