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United States of America v. Robert Capelli
Case Number: 3:17-cr-00157-JBA
Judge: Janet Bond Arterton
Court: United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (New Haven County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Rahul Kale and Marc Silverman
Defendant's Attorney: William F. Dow, III
New Haven, CT - Milford Man Guilty of Marijuana Trafficking Offenses
A jury in New Haven has found Robert Capelli, 33, of Milford, guilty of offenses related to his involvement in a large-scale marijuana trafficking conspiracy.
According to the evidence presented during the trial and in other court proceedings, in 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration began investigating a Piper single-engine aircraft, owned by Donald Burns of Milford, that was making regular flights between Stratford, Connecticut, and northern California via the southwest United States. On June 28, 2017, Burns flew the aircraft from northern California to Lubbock, Texas. The next day, Burns flew the aircraft from Texas to Arkansas, and then to West Virginia and Connecticut, where he landed in the evening at Sikorsky Airport in Stratford. After it landed, a law enforcement search of the plane revealed approximately 400 pounds of marijuana in vacuum-sealed packages, and Burns was arrested. Investigators determined that the marijuana was intended for Capelli and others to distribute in Connecticut. Capelli and his associate, Scott Bodnar of Ansonia, were arrested later that day.
The investigation revealed that, over a period of approximately two years, Capelli and his associates earned millions of dollars by trafficking nearly two tons of marijuana from California to Connecticut. Members of the conspiracy also laundered more than $6 million to purchase marijuana in California, maintain properties for distribution in Connecticut, pay Burns to transport the marijuana, and for other expenses related to the conspiracy.
Capelli was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, and one count of possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. Capelli was found not guilty of one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and one count of money laundering. Judge Arterton scheduled sentencing for October 25, 2019, at which time Capelli faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 80 years.
In addition, Capelli has forfeited approximately $90,000 to date, and additional forfeiture proceedings are pending.
On May 2, 2019, Bodnar pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. On May 3, Capelliís associate, Terrell Givens of Beacon Falls, pleaded guilty to the same charges. On May 6, Burns pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana. In pleading guilty, the defendants also agreed to the forfeiture of cash and various items, including Burnsí Piper aircraft, a 2012 Toyota Camry belonging to Bodnar, and a 2009 Jaguar XF and approximately $8,000 in jewelry belonging to Givens.
This matter has been investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administrationís New Haven Task Force, the Federal Aviation Administrationís Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP), the Customs and Border Protectionís Air and Marine Operations Center, the Internal Revenue Service Ė Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Stratford, Derby and West Haven Police Departments, and the Second Judicial Drug Task Force in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE - Conspiracy to Distribute, and to Possess with Intent to Distribute, 1,000 Kilograms or More of Marijuana
CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE MARIJUANA - Conspiracy to Distribute, and to Possess with Intent to Distribute, 1,000 Kilograms or More of Marijuana
MARIJUANA - SELL, DISTRIBUTE, OR DISPENSE - Possession with Intent to Distribute 100 Kilograms or More of Marijuana
POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE MARIJUANA - Possession with Intent to Distribute I 00 Kilograms or More of Marijuana
Outcome: 07/25/2019 276 Marked Court Exhibit List. (Barry, Donna) (Entered: 07/26/2019)
07/25/2019 277 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Janet Bond Arterton:
Jury Trial held and completed on 7/25/2019 as to Robert Capelli.
Total Time: 1 hours and 15 minutes(Court Reporter Tracy Gow) (Barry, Donna) (Entered: 07/26/2019)
07/25/2019 278 JURY VERDICT with foreperson's signature redacted as to Robert Capelli (1).
Guilty on Count 1s and 2s. Not Guilty on Count 3s and 4s. (Barry, Donna) (Entered: 07/26/2019)
07/25/2019 279 SENTENCING SCHEDULING ORDER as to Robert Capelli:
Sentencing set for 10/21/2019 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom Two, 141 Church St., New Haven, CT before Judge Janet Bond Arterton.
The initial Presentence Report shall be disclosed to the Defendant, counsel for the Defendant, and the Government by September 9, 2019. Any objections or comments shall be communicated to the probation officer by September 23, 2019. The final version of the Presentence Report shall be filed by October 3, 2019. Defendant's Sentencing Memorandum shall be filed by October 7, 2019. Government's Sentencing Memorandum shall be filed by October 14, 2019. Any replies shall be filed by October 17, 2019.
Signed by Judge Janet Bond Arterton on 07/25/19. (Barry, Donna) (Entered: 07/26/2019)
07/25/2019 280 NOTICE OF E-FILED CALENDAR as to Robert Capelli: THIS IS THE ONLY NOTICE COUNSEL/THE PARTIES WILL RECEIVE. ALL PERSONS ENTERING THE COURTHOUSE MUST PRESENT PHOTO IDENTIFICATION.
Sentencing set for 10/21/2019 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom Two, 141 Church St., New Haven, CT before Judge Janet Bond Arterton. (Barry, Donna) (Entered: 07/26/2019)