Skip to main content
Press Release

California Women Convicted Of Smuggling Drugs On Airplanes To Tampa

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida -  Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury yesterday 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.  Cooper, Johnson, and Blanchard each face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.  The sentencing hearings are scheduled for December 16, 2013.  All three individuals were indicted on April 11, 2013.

According to evidence and testimony presented at trial, on or about April 1, 2013, Cooper, Johnson and Blanchard departed from the airport in San Diego destined for Tampa, with the purpose of delivering approximately two pounds of high-purity methamphetamine to co-defendant Raul Carbajal.  In order to get the drugs through airport security without detection, each of the women concealed the drugs on her body. On April 2, 2013, they arrived in Tampa where they were met by Carbajal.  The three women then delivered the packages of methamphetamine to him. In the same manner, Cooper and Blanchard had previously delivered methamphetamine from California to Carbajal in Tampa on several occasions. 

This case was investigated by special agents and local task force agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Jackson.

Updated January 26, 2015