A Los Angeles man received a 12-year federal prison sentence Friday for attempting to transport 5 pounds of methamphetamine through LAX last year, the US attorney’s office said.
Kiyonte Levell Sowell, 22, pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance in the February 2022 incident.
The arrest came as a result of a DEA wiretap on a drug organization run by one of Sowell’s relatives, David Belton, 37, of Compton, the US attorney’s office said in a news release.
In February 2022, the Drug Enforcement Administration received information that a large quantity of methamphetamine would be transported from California to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Investigators tracked down a rental that was transporting the drugs from Los Angeles and stopped it in Nebraska, seizing 60 pounds of methamphetamine.
After the seizure, Belton continued to buy methamphetamine.
In conversation, Belton told Sowell to buy “a big suitcase” but to pack light.
“You know what the rest is,” Belton said.
Sowell went to LAX the next day with a large rolling suitcase, but was stopped when he tried to get through security.
Airport security X-rayed the case and found several bags of a substance hidden under the clothes.
Security eventually searched the bag and discovered around 5 pounds of methamphetamine, at which point Sowell was arrested.
Ten others, including Belton, were charged in the same indictment and were awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty or being found guilty.
Belton pleaded guilty last month to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.