Marijuana-Filled Hockey Bags Flown Into Minnesota

BLAINE, Minn. – Five men from Colorado and Minnesota are charged with stuffing 132 pounds of marijuana into hockey gear bags and smuggling it into the state on a small plane. A federal indictment unsealed Monday charged the five men with one count each of conspiracy to distribute 50 or more kilograms of marijuana. They were identified as: Boyd Ethan Wilkinson, age 36, of Brighton, Colorado; Cameron Leigh Christensen, age 23, of Andover; Todd Christian Skonnord, age 26, of St. Paul; Robert Lee Bowker, age 33, of Lyons, Colorado and Anthony W. Raymond, age 37, of Longmont, Colorado.

The indictment alleges that from September 1 through October 28, 2011, the defendants conspired with each other to distribute 50 or more kilograms of marijuana, and that on September 30, 2011, the defendants possessed with intent to distribute that marijuana. According to a law enforcement affidavit filed in the case. On Sept. 26, investigators learned of suspicious activity occurring at the Anoka County Airport in Blaine. On Sept. 30, Wilkinson and 27-year-old Matthew Martin Hecker of Evergreen, Colorado, landed at the airport in Blaine after the control tower was closed. Officers met the plane on a taxiway, and when the door opened, they reportedly smelled marijuana. The plane was full of large hockey bags, later discovered to contain marijuana.

On October 4, 2011, Christensen and Skonnord were stopped by the Iowa State Patrol, and police seized a small amount of marijuana, $79,995 in cash, documents appearing to be drug ledgers and several cell phones. One of the phones had photos of marijuana and text messages consistent with drug shipments.Hecker pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy on Oct. 27 and Wilkinson on Nov. 30. If convicted, the defendants face a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the conspiracy charge and five years on the possession charge. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.

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