McGowan, who has made headlines recently after becoming one of the first actresses to accuse fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape, was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kraig Troxell told AFP.
Troxell could not confirm when McGowan was due in court.
“She turned herself in early afternoon at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center,” Troxell said.
“A warrant for her arrest had been issued earlier this year by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department.”
Celebrity news magazine Variety said the federal felony charge stems from a police investigation of personal belongings McGowan left on a United Airlines flight arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport in January.
The items allegedly contained traces of unspecified narcotics. Some reports said cocaine was to blame.
After news of the warrant became public, McGowan tweeted: “Are they trying to silence me? There is a warrant out for my arrest in Virginia. What a load of HORSESHIT.”
In a public speech last month, McGowan decried what she called a pervasive culture of sexual misconduct in Hollywood, and urged women to fight back.
“I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed. I have been maligned, and you know what? I’m just like you,” said McGowan, 44.