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Thursday, Apr 17, 2014
Crime & Courts

Two women, man sentenced for body-smuggling meth


Two women who smuggled meth inside their bodies from California on a plane to Tampa and the man they delivered to were sentenced to at least 15 years in federal prison, authorities said Thursday.

Vanessa Cooper was sentenced to 17 years, Canetha Johnson to 14 years and Raul Carbajal to 15 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute about 2 pounds of high-purity methamphetamine.

According to the evidence and testimony at trial, Cooper, Johnson and another woman departed from an airport in San Diego in April, destined for Tampa to deliver the drugs to Carbajal, of Plant City.

To get through airport security without detection, drugs packages were hidden inside each woman’s body, prosecutors said. The women arrived in Tampa on April 2 and were met by Carbajal, prosecutors said.

Cooper, 39, and Johnson, 43, both of El Cajon, Calif., were found guilty by a federal jury on Sept. 23. Carbajal, 23, pleaded guilty Sept. 13, authorities said.

The other woman, Susan Blanchard, of El Cajon, Calif., smuggled meth from San Diego to Tampa in a similar fashion, acting U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III said in a news release. On Sept. 23, she was also found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and is awaiting a sentencing date, Bentley said.