Marijuana Smuggler Sentenced
Orlando, Florida - U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that U.S. District Judge John Antoon II today sentenced Randall C. Starcher (44, Kissimmee) to 5 years in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. The court also ordered Starcher to forfeit a Cessna 206 airplane, which was used to transport marijuana and was traceable to proceeds of the offense.
Starcher pled guilty on October 3, 2011.
According to court documents, Starcher, a licensed pilot, was paid to fly loads of marijuana from Texas to Central Florida. Specifically, on or about May 23, 2009, he and another co-conspirator purchased a Cessna 206 private plane (Tail No. 8065Z) with approximately $68,000 in cash. The co-conspirator and Starcher agreed that Starcher would pay off the purchase price of the plane by piloting it on flights to and from Texas.
In 2009 - 2010 Starcher piloted the Cessna 206 at least ten times on round-trip flights between central Florida and Texas. He purchased fuel for these flights at the departure airport in south Texas and at multiple fuel stops along the way, and always paid for the fuel with cash provided by his co-conspirators. There were approximately 500 pounds of marijuana on board the aircraft for each flight from Texas to central Florida.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bruce S. Ambrose.