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California Women Convicted of Smuggling Drugs on Airplanes to Tampa

SEP 24  (TAMPA, Fla.) – Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and A. Lee Bentley, III, Acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, announced yesterday that a federal jury found Vanessa Cooper (39, El Cajon, California), Canetha Johnson (43, El Cajon, California) and Selena Blanchard (41, San Diego, California) guilty of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.  All three defendants, who were indicted on April 11, 2013, face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.  Their sentence hearings have been scheduled for December 16, 2013. 

According to evidence and testimony presented at trial, on or about April 1, 2013, Cooper, Johnson and Blanchard boarded a commercial airplane in San Diego and traveled to Tampa, Florida to deliver approximately two pounds of high-purity methamphetamine to co-defendant Raul Carbajal.  The women smuggled the drugs concealed in their bodies to pass through airport security.  On April 2, 2013, upon arriving in Tampa, the women delivered the packages of methamphetamine to Carbajal.  The investigation also revealed that Cooper and Blanchard have made previous trips to Tampa and delivered methamphetamine to Carbajal on several occasions. 

This case was investigated by the DEA Tampa Task Force which consists of DEA agents and detectives from the Clearwater Police Department, Tarpon Springs Police Department, St. Petersburg Police Department, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Bradenton Police Department, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Lakeland Police Department, Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.  SAC Trouville commends the prosecution efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.

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