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Man sentenced to 7 years for flying pot

March 1, 2012 at 2:22 PM   |   Comments

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind., March 1 (UPI) -- A 72-year-old Alaska man was sentenced to seven years in prison in Indiana for flying a plane that was carrying 200 pounds of marijuana.

Allen Richter, of Ketchikan, Alaska, pleaded guilty earlier this week in Clark County (Ind.) Circuit Court to felony dealing in marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance charges, the (Jefferson, Ind.) News and Tribune reported.

Richter was arrested Nov. 5 after a search of the aircraft he landed at Clark Regional Airport in Indiana uncovered three duffel bags holding more than 30 pounds of high-grade hydroponic marijuana each in the back seat of the plane, as well as seven large bags of marijuana in the storage area behind the passenger compartment, the newspaper said. Nearly 200 pounds of marijuana were recovered from the aircraft.

Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Jake Elder said the estimated value of the marijuana was between $450,000 to $500,000.

The airplane Richter was flying -- a 1962 fixed-wing single-engine Piper PA-24-250 -- was registered to another individual in Ketchikan. Richter admitted the plane, which originated in California, was stolen, officials said.

Clark County Circuit Court Judge Jerry Jacobi sentenced Richter to eight years in prison, with one year suspended, for the dealing in marijuana charge and two years suspended, both suspended, for the nuisance charge. Richter's age and health conditions were taken into account when he was sentenced, the News and Tribune reported.

"We're very pleased with the sentence Judge Jacobi handed down," Elder said.

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