Office of the United States Attorney, Ann Birmingham Scheel
District of Arizona
February 23, 2012
MAN FOUND GUILTY OF DISTRIBUTING DRUGS VIA PRIVATE PLANE SENTENCED TO 70 MONTHS
PHOENIX – On Feb. 21, 2012, Luis Javier Rodriguez, 49, of Phoenix, was sentenced to 70 months in prison by U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg. On Oct. 28, 2011, Rodriguez was found guilty 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. “The defendant used them for his own criminal advantage and financial gain in his attempt to distribute marijuana. This sentence shows this behavior will not be tolerated.”
The evidence at trial showed that Rodriguez hired two private pilots to unknowingly fly marijuana from an airpark in Chandler, Ariz., to an airpark in Clark County, Ind. 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. Rodriguez informed the pilots that they would be shipping time sensitive business documents and certificates for his construction business. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security met the plane at the Clark County Airport. Pursuant to a consent search, agents discovered 140 kilograms of marijuana inside eight boxes and one duffle bag.
The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The prosecution was handled by Kristen Brook, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
CASE NUMBER: CR-11-00327-PHX-JAT
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-042(Rodriguez)
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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az