A commercial airlines pilot in Houston, TX has been accused of smuggling a large quantity of cocaine from South America to Houston. He allegedly swallowed 62 bags of cocaine while wearing his uniform on the flight, although he was not piloting the plane at the time.
Stanley Rafael Hill, who is 49 and currently lives in McKinney, has been charged with drug possession with intent to deliver in Texas district court. Hill also is being charged in a federal court with importing an illegal substance, as Homeland Security officials have started on the case.
Court documents state that the pilot swallowed balloons of cocaine, and one of them burst when the plane landed.
Hill called 911 himself. He went to a local hospital and stayed there for a few days as he recovered. Then he was released from the hospital last Wednesday.
According to a source close to the investigation, before he boarded the flight in Columbia, he swallowed 62 balloons of cocaine. At the time he was not flying the plane, but was a passenger.
Hill is an FAA-licensed commercial pilot and is certified to fly a 737. He also has flown for ExpressJet from 2007-8.
It is not clear at this time if having security clearances made it easier for him to smuggle the cocaine.
The pilot has been released but he cannot pilot any plane while he is out on bond, which was set at $50,000.
Smuggling of drugs for pilots is generally easier than with passengers, as they are not subjected to the same cavity checks.
About Drug Trafficking Laws
Federal drug trafficking laws in the US provide harsh penalties for selling, transporting and importing of illegal drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, heroin, meth and other drugs.
Punishment can vary widely, depending upon the amount and type of drugs, where they are being distributed and whether children are involved.
Drug trafficking is a serious felony and is much more serious than simple drug possession. If a person is found in possession of a large quantity of drugs, such as the pilot in the story above, he or she can be charged with trafficking.
Note that drug trafficking also applies to distributing prescription drugs, including pain and sleeping pills. Illegal distribution of prescription drugs frequently involves hydroconde and opiates.
When a state or federal government classifies a drug as controlled, it usually means that the use and distribution of that drug is controlled by laws. Controlled substances usually are classified under different schedules, according to state and federal statute. Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, and cocaine is Schedule II. The more controlled the drug in question is, the longer the prison sentence will be if you are caught.
Note that federal and state laws often are involved in most drug trafficking cases. There are many federal drug laws, and each state has its own drug laws. Most state laws are modeled after federal laws. Minimum mandatory sentences exist for most drug smuggling cases, as well as for simple possession. It is common for lower level drug dealers to receive minimum mandatory sentences of five years or more.