Illinois: Man Gets 24 Years For Marijuana
By Steve Elliott
A Texas man who was caught with 73 pounds of marijuana in Douglas County, Illinois, three years ago was sentenced last week to 24 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
A jury had convicted Antonio Sustaita, 39, of Beeville, Texas, of marijuana trafficking, possession with intent to deliver and possession of marijuana after the cannabis was found in the pickup truck in which he was a passenger, reports the East Central Illinois News Gazette.
The truck was stopped on I-57 north of Arcola by Illinois State Police on February 4, 2010, because it had a cracked windshield "and an air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror." (Did you know they could list an air freshener as "probable cause"?)
A drug dog alerted on odors coming from the back of the truck, and the cops searched it, finding that the gas tank had been modified and held 42 bricks of cannabis.
In addition to the 24-year prison sentence, Judge Mike Carroll ordered Sustaita to pay a street value fine of $60,000 and a $3,000 mandatory assessment.
Because of the amount of marijuana involved, Sustaita could have gotten up to 60 years in prison.
The prosecutor sought a sentence of 27 years, while Sustaita's lawyer, Harvey Welch of Urbana, asked for a sentence closer to the minimum of 12 years. Judge Carroll gave Sustaita credite for 395 days already served in jail.
According to the prosecutor, Sustaita already had prior convictions for driving under the influence, escape and resisting arrest in Texas.