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Thursday, February 22, 2024

California woman sentenced after traveling to Gainesville with over 60 pounds of weed

She faces a year of jail time

A California woman will spend nearly a year in the Alachua County Jail after she was arrested for trying to bring to Gainesville 62 pounds of cannabis, which is roughly the weight of a Siberian husky.

Mandy Lee Carlson, 31, was found guilty and sentenced Jan. 27 after she tried to fly across state lines with the marijuana in her luggage.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office reported to Gainesville Police Department May 18, 2021, that Carlson traveled through American Airlines with around 24 individual baggies of weed, and her final destination was Gainesville, according to the arrest report.

Carlson has no known history in Gainesville, according to her arrest report.

After some weather delays, she arrived the next day and grabbed her luggage before detectives from the Gainesville-Alachua County Drug Task Force detained and questioned her. She decided not to speak during questioning, so officers sent out K-9s to sniff the suitcases, detecting drugs. Soon after, they received a warrant to search the luggage and found 62 pounds of weed, according to the report. Carlson was charged with one count of drug possession with intent to sell and one count of the use or transportation of drug paraphernalia. Her bond was set at $250,000.

Carlson originally pleaded not guilty but switched Jan. 27 to pleading no contest, which accepts the charges without explicitly admitting guilt. She was sentenced to 364 days in the Alachua County Jail and two years of community control — a stricter form of probation in which inmates can only travel to a list of predetermined locations, otherwise having to stay at home. 

Carlson will also regularly have to complete drug and alcohol tests. Her earliest release would be in early 2026.

Contact Aidan Bush at abush@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @aidandisto.

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Aidan Bush

Aidan Bush is a third-year journalism major and the Spring 2024 Engagement Managing Editor of The Alligator. In his free time, he likes to listen to music and go kayaking.


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