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DC school worker linked to cocaine cruise ship conspiracy, court docs show

WASHINGTON DC -- A business manager with District of Columbia Public Schools, is being held without bond in a federal prison in Florida.

Rita Gray, 38, pleaded guilty to being the mastermind behind a plan to smuggle more than five kilograms of cocaine into the United States, affiliate DCW reports.

Court documents show, Gray recruited four women from the DC/Baltimore area, and promised to pay them thousands of dollars, if they agreed to go on a cruise to Jamaica, and bring back cocaine, which she referred to as “gifts.”

Gray admitted, last may, she bought plane and cruise tickets for the women, and gave them what she called “spending money.”

The four flew from Baltimore Washington International Airport to Florida, where they boarded a cruise ship to Jamaica.

Rita Gray

Rita Gray

According to court documents, while on the island, the women met with a man who gave them each baggy dresses, bras, and underwear that had more than five kilograms of cocaine hidden in them. In exchange, the women gave him the money from Gray.

When the co-conspirators got back on board the ship, they hid the drugs in their rooms. Shortly thereafter, one of them received multiple text messages from the DCPS employee.

One message read: “Gifts must be worn. Dresses must be worn. Walk straight out with I.D. and custom form in hand, no metal detectors at all. Straight shot.”

However, according case records, it was not that easy. Gray said the next day, she flew to Florida, to wait for the women to get off the cruise ship, but they never did.

Officials said the women were searched while going through Customs, and the drugs were found.

Gray said that is when she got back on a flight to BWI, and went home.

She was arrested seven months later by US Marshalls.

Court documents show the crimes are punishable by a mandatory term of imprisonment of 10 years to life.

DCPS said Gray has been placed on administrative leave.