STRATFORD, Conn. -- Three men were charged Wednesday with trafficking marijuana into Connecticut by flying it from California to the Sikorsky Airport in Stratford.
A federal grand jury in New Haven returned a three-count indictment against Robert Capelli, 31, of Milford, Scott Bodnar, also known as "Pep," 38, of Ansonia, and Donald Burns, 59, of Milford, according to Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut.
According to court documents, in 2016 the Federal Aviation Administration began investigating a Piper single-engine aircraft owned by Burns that was making regular flights between Stratford and northern California via the southwest United States. On June 28 of this year, Burns flew the aircraft from northern California to Lubbock, Texas, and the next day he flew it to Arkansas, then to West Virginia, and finally to the Sikorsky Airport in Stratford, Daly said.
A search of the plan reveal 400 kilograms of marijuana in vacuum-sealed packaged contained in a duffle bag, according to Daly. The investigation revealed that the marijuana was intended for Capelli and Bodnar, and later that day agents conducted a controlled delivery of marijuana to Capelli and Bodnar at a location in Derby, where they were arrested, Daly said.
Investigators believe that between 2015 and 2017, the three trafficked more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from California to Connecticut.
The three were charged with one count conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, 1,000 kilograms of more or marijuana. This carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.
They were also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana on board an aircraft registered in the U.S., and one count of possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. These charges carry a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum term of 40 years in prison.
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