Thursday, February 23, 2012

Man gets prison for deceiving pilots to make drug run

PHOENIX (CBS5) -   A Phoenix man has been sentenced to almost six years in prison for hiring two pilots who unknowingly flew drugs on a private plane.

Luis Javier Rodriguez, 49, got a 70-month prison term on Tuesday in U.S. District Court. He was found guilty last October of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.

"This defendant preyed upon and manipulated two unknowing citizens - the two pilots he hired to fly his purported business cargo," said Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel.

Rodriguez hired the private pilots to fly marijuana from an airpark in Chandler to an airpark in Clark County, IN, prosecutors said.

In order to disguise the cargo and its odor, Rodriguez delivered the marijuana to the plane wrapped securely in black plastic and placed inside cardboard boxes and a duffle bag, prosecutors said.

Rodriguez told the pilots that they would be shipping time sensitive business documents and certificates for his construction business, according to evidence at the trial.

Agents from the Department of Homeland Security met the plane at the Clark County Airport and discovered 140 kilograms of marijuana inside eight boxes and one duffle bag, prosecutors said.

The investigation was conducted by U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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