A father and son from Colorado who flew into Baton Rouge Metro Airport last year with nearly 72 pounds of cocaine on the elder man’s private plane were sentenced Wednesday to five years and four years in federal prison, respectively.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson also fined Vincent Salzano, 57, $5,000 and Armando Salzano, 33, $30,000.
The elder Salzano, who had a previous conviction for cocaine distribution, pleaded guilty in June and admitted he planned to distribute the drugs valued by authorities at $1 million. His son pleaded guilty in January.
“Vincent Salzano made a very bad choice, and will suffer the consequences over the next 5 years,” his attorneys, Jim Boren and Marci Blaize, said Wednesday in a written statement.
“It was a fair sentence based on Armando’s otherwise sterling record and incredible family support,” John DiGiulio, the younger Salzano’s attorney, added.
Vincent Salzano, of Aurora, Colorado, told federal agents he had picked up the cocaine in McAllen, Texas, along the United States-Mexico border, reboarded the plane and was in the process of transporting the drugs to Atlanta at the time of his stop in Baton Rouge, court documents show.
The twin-engine Beechcraft 58P’s suspicious flight plan alerted agents and prompted the search of the plane at Metro Airport, the documents indicate. The plane had flown from Denver to Atlanta on Oct. 7, 2013, then the next day from Atlanta to McAllen, stopping for fuel in New Orleans. After a brief stay in McAllen, the plane was headed back to Atlanta when it stopped in Baton Rouge.
Agents obtained consent to search the plane for illegal narcotics, and found among the luggage two gym bags containing about 30 packaged bundles of cocaine weighing roughly 33 kilograms, according to court documents.
Vincent Salzano claimed responsibility for the cocaine and told agents no one else on the plane knew anything about the drugs.
Vincent Salzano pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Armando Salzano, of Littleton, Colorado, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.