A third man pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to being part of a conspiracy that brought 40 pounds of meth and 80 bricks of cocaine to Blue Grass Airport last year.
Robert Walter Carlson, 47, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of a controlled substance. Had he not entered a plea, Carlson was scheduled to go on trial April 16 before U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell.
“I’m guilty and I’m choosing to take responsibility for my crimes,” Carlson told Caldwell.
The amount of cocaine seized was one of the largest in Kentucky. Each brick of cocaine weighed 2.2 pounds for a total of 176 pounds.
The largest seizure was in Henry County in 2004, when state police found about 800 pounds of cocaine after a traffic stop on Interstate 71.
Carlson was indicted in April after a private twin-engine jet flew into Lexington from Van Nuys, Calif. Federal agents were tipped off to the plane’s arrival and the drugs it carried. An affidavit filed by a Homeland Security investigator said the plane was on its way to Florida.
A suitcase from the plane was loaded into a car that was later stopped by Kentucky State Police after it ran a stop sign. Drug-sniffing dogs detected drugs in the car and more drugs were later found on the plane. The 80 bricks of cocaine were in three separate pieces of luggage found on the aircraft, according to court documents.
Judge Caldwell scheduled Carlson’s sentencing for May 1 in Lexington. He faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
Two other defendants who were indicted with Carlson are Cedric Allen Oronce Fajardo and Isaac Basilio Rosas.
Rosas, 33, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of a controlled substance. He faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for April 11.
Fajardo pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He faces a prison sentence of 20 years to life. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 1 in Lexington.
A federal grand jury indicted four other people in October as part of a related prosecution. Katherine E. Matthews, Robert Chipperfield Jr., Robert Earl Wallace and Torrey Ward were indicted on various drug-related charges, but court documents don’t explicitly say what their alleged ties were to the arrival of the Hawker jet that landed at Blue Grass Airport.
Their cases are still pending in federal court.