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California Women and Florida Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to
Body-Smuggling Drugs to Tampa

DEC 19 (TAMPA, Fla.) –  Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and A. Lee Bentley, III, Acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, announces that U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore this week sentenced Vanessa Cooper (39, El Cajon, California), Canetha Johnson (43, El Cajon, California), and Raul Carbajal (23, Plant City, Florida) to 17, 14 and 15 years in federal prison, respectively, for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.  Cooper and Johnson were found guilty by a federal jury on September 23, 2013.  Carbajal pleaded guilty on September 13, 2013.

According to the evidence and testimony presented at trial, on or about April 1, 2013, Cooper and Johnson, along with co-defendant Selena Blanchard, traveled from San Diego, California to Tampa, Florida. The purpose of the trip was to deliver approximately two pounds of high-purity methamphetamine to Carbajal. In order to get the drugs through airport security without detection, each individual smuggled a package inside of her body.  The three women arrived in Tampa on April 2, 2013, where they were met by Carbajal. All three women then delivered the packages of methamphetamine to Carbajal. In the same manner, Cooper and Blanchard had delivered methamphetamine from California to Carbajal, in Tampa, on prior occasions. 

On September 23, 2013, Blanchard was found guilty by a jury trial.  A sentencing date has not yet been set.

This investigation was conducted by special agents and local task force agents with the DEA.  The case was prosecuted by the Unit States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida.


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