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Colorado Pilot Forfeits Airplane After Smuggling Conviction

Methamphetamine Involvement Leads to Multiple Charges

James Handzus was sentenced Tuesday in Montgomery County PA, court to nine to 22 years after his conviction of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, criminal use of a communication facility, possession of drug paraphernalia and conspiracy. A narcotics enforcement team discovered in March 2011 that Handzus had allegedly been smuggling large quantities of meth into the U.S. using his airplane, a 1959 Piper Comanche which has since been forfeited and will be sold to fund other drug investigations. The following month local police learned Handzus was flying into Wings Field in Whitpain Township north of Philadelphia. No flight plan had been filed but authorities knew of his plans from a posting on his Facebook page.

The Times Herald newspaper reports that a meeting with an undercover officer was arranged at a local restaurant, and a deal was struck to purchase a pound of methamphetamine. After inspecting the drugs the undercover detective gave Handzus a deposit and then waiting detectives moved in to make the arrest. In court prosecutors alleged the meth came from Mexico and shipped to Las Vegas which is known to be a local drug hub.

First Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele told the paper “If there’s one person that knows the insidious nature of this drug it’s Mr. Handzus, someone who clearly should have known better. Those who become addicted to this have their lives ruined. What Mr. Handzus was trying to put out on the streets… could have caused a lot of problems for a lot of people.”

FMI: www.montcopa.org/courts/cwp/view,a,1434,Q,20091.asp 

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