For a woman who claimed to be a Beverly Hills socialite with connections to multimillion-dollar businesses, perhaps traveling with 13 suitcases would not have attracted much attention. She was accompanied with a small entourage, traveled on a charter plane and wore false eyelashes.
But this was her fourth trip from Van Nuys to Columbus, Ohio, and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration became suspicious that there was something more to 28-year-old Lisette Lee’s trips than an extensive wardrobe.
On Monday, agents watched Lee’s entourage offload the suitcases into three vehicles, according to a complaint filed by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
And when drug-sniffing dogs identified a positive narcotics odor, agents found more than 506 pounds — or 23 bales — of marijuana stuffed inside the suitcases.
In interviews with agents, Lee claimed she was a model and recording artist, the complaint states.
She said that this was her fourth trip and that she could afford the chartered plane — which her family kept on retainer — because she was associated with several multimillion-dollar businesses, according to the complaint.
After her arrest, rumors swirled that Lee was an heir to the Samsung Electronics fortune, though the company issued a statement denying it.
Lee was charged with conspiracy and possession with the intent to distribute narcotics.
On a previous flight, also from Van Nuys to Columbus, she traveled with the same group and also carried an “excessive amount of luggage,” according to the complaint.
Lee claimed that the luggage held supplies for a horse farm in Columbus, agents said.
Lee told agents she had come to visit her boyfriend, who recently had purchased a horse farm in Ohio and asked her to transport some equipment for him. She told officials she did not know his last name.
Lee also told agents that she had met a man named David Garrett at a California casino who was an importer/exporter and had recently purchased a horse farm in Ohio. It was unclear if Garrett was the same person as the boyfriend. Lee said she agreed to transport equipment for Garrett’s horse farm.
Garrett would supply cash to cover the $50,000 charter trips and $10,000 in payments for Lee’s companions, she told agents.
Garrett would deliver 12 to 14 suitcases to Lee’s residences in Los Angeles. Then in Columbus, Lee would drop off the luggage at an area hotel room and leave the key at the front desk. Lee and her companions would remain in Columbus for several days until Garrett summoned her back to the hotel room to bring suitcases back to Los Angeles.
Lee said that she suspected Garrett’s story was false and that she might be engaging in illegal activity, but she believed that they were transporting weapons or money.
Richard Isaacson, a special agent and spokesman for the Detroit division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said agents are still investigating Lee’s claims.
Lee will face a federal judge at a detention hearing Friday, Isaacson said.