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28211: Craig (news) Woman Reaches Plea Deal in Smuggling Case (fwd)
From: Dan Craig
March 31, 2006
Woman Reaches Plea Deal in Smuggling Case
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 11:55 p.m. ET
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- A Haitian woman facing federal charges after a
human skull was found in her luggage has reached a plea deal, her lawyer said
As a result, Myrlene Severe, 30, a permanent U.S. resident, may avoid
deportation, said her attorney, Kenneth Hassett, who announced the deal Friday
in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.
The remains were found when the woman arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood
International Airport in February from Haiti. She told authorities she intended
to use it as part of her Voodoo beliefs.
Severe was charged with smuggling a human head into the U.S. without proper
documentation, failure to declare the head and transporting hazardous material
in air commerce.
The plea deal would allow her to plead guilty at an April 12 hearing to a
misdemeanor charge of improper storage of human remains, the South Florida
A misdemeanor conviction would less likely lead to deportation, her lawyer
Severe could have faced up to 15 years in jail. Now she could face less than a
year in jail, probation and fines.
The U.S. attorney's office said in a statement that the agreement ''accurately
reflects the totality of the circumstances.''