Glendale Police have arrested two people suspected of
participating in a large-scale opium ring and are set to serve search
warrants on others suspected of distributing the drug in Glendale and
Glendale resident Razmik Minasian, 36, allegedly recruited a
Swedish woman to pick up a suitcase containing 11 pounds of heroin
from Turkey, Glendale Police said.
The woman, Ingela Sjunnesson, returned to Sweden, and Minasian
contacted her and told her to bring the suitcases to Glendale. But
the airline lost her luggage in New York and she continued to Los
Angeles without the suitcases.
The luggage was located, one piece at a time, and forwarded to her
in Los Angeles, but the second suitcase found was screened by U.S.
Customs agents who found 11 pounds of opium concealed in the lining.
The agents contacted Glendale Police. Authorities here arranged to
deliver the second suitcase to Sjunnesson, who was staying at the
Chariot Inn, 1118 E. Colorado St. on July 20. They also served a
search warrant on Minasian's home in the 500 block of Woodbury Road.
"She went to Turkey to pick up two suitcases containing what she
thought was clothing," Glendale Police Investigator Craig Tweedy
said. "I think she was brought into this thing on false pretenses."
The suitcase was filled with leather jackets and other items, and
the opium was not visible.
Sjunnesson was arrested on suspicion of possessing and
transporting opium, and Minasian was arrested on suspicion of
possessing opium for sales.
The drugs -- which represent the department's largest opium
seizure to date -- are valued at $200,000. Police believe the arrests
were related to a March 13 incident in which a religious icon
containing a kilo of opium was mailed to a Glendale woman. Kamali
Masihi, 64, was arrested on suspicion of possessing opium for sales
but the district attorney's office declined to charge her with the