A man from Marietta, Georgia was arrested on Monday after allegedly flying into Illinois with 340 pounds of marijuana on board a private plane. Two other individuals from California have also been arrested.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution has the story.
Police in Pontiac, Illinois searched a 1971 Beechcraft airplane at the Pontiac Municipal Airport after they suspected that drugs may be on board. The plane was traveling from California to Ohio but landed in Illinois due to bad weather. Upon searching the plane, officers found duffel bags stuffed with marijuana.
Alan Luster, of Marietta, Georgia, was arrested in connection with the marijuana. Ernest Austin and Cher Holland, both of California, were also arrested. Luster is currently in the Livingston County jail on $400,000 bond. Austin and Holland were both given a $200,000 bond.
If prosecuted in federal court, the three will be facing a prison sentence of between at least five and 40 years assuming no prior drug convictions. In addition, the government may move to forfeit the private plane which transported the marijuana.
Our firm was recently hired to represent a Texas pilot charged in federal court with transporting nearly 400 pounds of cocaine from Texas to Atlanta, Georgia. After a three day trial, we were able to convince the jury that our client had no knowledge of the drugs or conspiracy to transport the drugs. It took the jury only an hour and a half to deliberate before announcing that our client was not guilty.
Such drug conspiracy cases are unfortunate reminders of how people with no knowledge of any illegal activity can be treated just as harshly as those who planned and devised the conspiracy.
Page Pate is an accomplished trial lawyer with over 25 years of experience in criminal defense, civil litigation, and whistleblower representation. Page is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Top 100 Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers, and named to the list of Super Lawyers for the past 15 consecutive years. Page is a frequent expert legal analyst for local and national media and has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Georgia Law School. Read Page’s reviews on AVVO. Follow Page on Twitter @pagepate and on Linkedin.