3 Accused of Trafficking Marijuana by Plane from California to Connecticut

Three men accused of trafficking marijuana by airplane from California to Connecticut have been arrested on federal charges.

Deirdre Daly, the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said in a statement that a federal grand jury in New Haven returned a three-count indictment today charging Robert Capelli, 31, of Milford; Scott Bodnar, 38, of Ansonia, and Donald Burns, 59, of Milford.

Federal officials said the Federal Aviation Administration began investigating Burns’ Piper single-engine aircraft, which was making regular flights between Stratford and northern California, via the southwest United States, in 2016. 

Over a two-day span in June, Burns flew from northern California to Lubbock, Texas, then to Arkansas, West Virginia and Stratford, Connecticut, where he landed at Sikorsky Airport. When law enforcement searched the plane, they found around 400 kilograms of marijuana in vacuum-sealed packages in a duffle bag, federal officials said.

As the investigation continued, authorities said they determined the marijuana was intended for Cappelli and Bodnar and conducted a controlled delivery in Derby, where the two men were arrested.

The three are accused of trafficking more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from California to Connecticut between 2015 and June 2017.

They have all been charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana. 

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.

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