BOSTON -- A decorated Vietnam veteran who claimed he was psychologically driven by his war experiences to crave danger and took up marijuana smuggling to satisfy his desire for risks was sentenced to 10 years inprisonment and fined $60,000 on a federal drug-smuggling conviction.
U.S. District Judge Walter J. Skinner said in imposing the sentence Wednesday he wanted to send an 'unmistakable message to a great number of people' that the courts will not be lenient in sentencing for those convicted of helping to smuggle marijuana.
Peter L. Krutschewski, 35, of Lansing, Mich., was convicted last month of smuggling 27 tons of marijuana by boat from Colombia to Gloucester, Mass. in 1975. The jurors rejected Krutschewski's claim he was temporarily insane at the time, suffering from Delayed Stress Syndrome _ sometimes called Vietnam Syndrome _ as a result of his war experiences.
His attorney argued that because of the syndrome Krutschewski had an uncontrollable urge for engaging in dangerous risks, similar to the risks he took as a U.S. soldier.
But Skinner said while he recognized the disorder on which Krutchewski based his defense, he was not persuaded that it was Delayed Stress Syndrome that caused Krutchewski to take part in smuggling.
'When it was to his advantage to engage in it he did,' Skinner said. 'When it was not to his advantage he did not,' Skinner added, noting that Krutchewski claimed he quit smuggling on the advice of a lawyer in 1975.
Skinner said he doubted the syndrome 'had a great deal to do with this crime.' The judge said he did not believe the ailment was a 'controlling or even a significant factor.'
Krutchewski had said he earned $450,000 to $500,000 in the Gloucester transaction.
The judge stayed the sentence pending appeal and Krutschewski remained free on $100,000 bail.
Roger Craig, Krutchewski's attorney, had argued that because his client had suffered mental stress, he should be given an alternative sentence such as a public job assignment in Michigan, where Krutchewski works.