A man convicted of smuggling 200 pounds of marijuana by airplane received a sentence of three years in federal prison on Sept. 22. Authorities also seized the 65-year-old man's 1969 Piper Comanche and imposed a $5,000 fine.
Law enforcement apparently targeted him after deeming his flight pattern from the West Coast to the Southwest as suspicious. He had refueled his single-engine plane in the desert Southwest and then attempted to land at two small Texas airports. He took off from both locations after seeing law enforcement officers on the ground.
He eventually landed late at night about 70 miles away from Austin at Llano Municipal Airport. Law enforcement then found the shipment of marijuana on his craft. He entered a guilty plea to the charges of marijuana possession with an intent to distribute.
Any person embroiled in an investigation that results in drug charges has a right to legal representation. An attorney could provide advice about criminal law. This might enable the client to understand the penalties that could result from a conviction. To create a defense strategy, an attorney might review the circumstances of a search and seizure. Any violations of the defendant's Constitutional rights might give the lawyer leverage with a prosecutor. The evidence might be excluded if law enforcement acted unlawfully. When evidence cannot be dismissed, an attorney could still seek a lenient sentence by negotiating a plea bargain. Any weakness in evidence might convince a prosecutor to reduce charges. An attorney could help a client make a decision about accepting or rejecting the deal.