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Hawaii musician sentenced for hiding pot in drums

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:41 a.m. HST, Sep 04, 2013

A musician who admitted smuggling marijuana inside drums on a flight from San Francisco to Honolulu was sentenced Tuesday to three months in federal detention and three months of home confinement.

Before he was sentenced in federal court in Honolulu, Brian Kusko, 33, said getting caught "felt like a blessing," because spending a long weekend locked up, while his wife was pregnant with his first child, was a wake-up call to "never make this mistake again."

Kusko pleaded guilty in April to possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute.

According to the plea agreement, Kusko checked in three pieces of oversized luggage containing musical drums for an October 2012 Hawaiian Airlines flight.

Transportation Security Administration screeners found about 23 pounds of marijuana in one drum. TSA seized the marijuana and the drum and allowed the other two pieces of luggage to be loaded onto the plane, the document states. Kusko was already on board.

San Francisco police notified authorities in Hawaii. When the flight landed, the two pieces of luggage were examined by a Honolulu police narcotics dog, which detected something suspicious, according to court records. The cases were placed on the baggage claim carousel and when Kusko went to pick them up, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration questioned him.

Inside the cases, the agents found about 20 pounds of marijuana and 438 grams of hashish in the drums, according to the plea agreement. Kusko was arrested.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson noted the amount of marijuana involved.

"This is a significant amount of drugs you secreted in your musician drums," he said.

The saddest part, Watson said, was that he didn't do it because it was the only way to provide for his family.

"This wasn't brought on by desperate circumstances," the judge said. "This wasn't anything other than greed."

Before rendering his sentence, Watson said that confinement would mean Kusko would miss milestones in his infant son's life. He also ordered Kusko to pay a $20,000 fine.

Defense attorney William Harrison had requested probation, saying his client made a "huge mistake" and that he "really got into the situation by happenstance."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Muehleck had asked the judge to impose some confinement.

"Marijuana is, and remains, a dangerous drug," Muehleck said.

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mikethenovice wrote:
The oldest trick in the book and the first place they will look.
on September 3,2013 | 06:10AM
Eradication wrote:
You're a poet and you know it....
on September 3,2013 | 05:13PM
krusha wrote:
With drug sniffing dogs, you can't get away with putting any drugs in your luggage.
on September 3,2013 | 06:29AM
rbzs1 wrote:
He should have known that drums can hit "HIGH" notes.......:-)
on September 3,2013 | 08:14AM
BigOpu wrote:
In drums? Where do you hide anything in drums? No secret hiding spots.
on September 3,2013 | 08:58AM
Ratrase wrote:
on September 3,2013 | 09:34AM
iwanaknow wrote:
Yikes, this brought shame to his family?
on September 3,2013 | 11:38AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Just make it legal and these criminals will not profit from this plant.
on September 3,2013 | 12:37PM
pueouhane wrote:
Good luck Brian Kusko,
on September 3,2013 | 01:03PM
Rickyboy wrote:
Maybe he has a medical card for his problem.
on September 3,2013 | 02:44PM
syhud wrote:
How dumb can this guy be! No, really. Just how dumb can this guy be!!!!!!
on September 3,2013 | 06:33PM
bubbaButt wrote:
What kind of drums were they? "Bong"os?
on September 3,2013 | 07:26PM
Wazdat wrote:
Pot is NOT dangerous. This guy is NOT that SMART...WOW... but he sure is LUCKY to get off so EASY.
on September 3,2013 | 07:48PM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
Whats happening with Roger Christie.
on September 3,2013 | 08:57PM
WalkoffBalk wrote:
That was a great idea. I leave my spare key under the welcome mat at the front door.
on September 3,2013 | 11:04PM
Papakolea wrote:
Three months for possessing with intent to distribute 20 pounds??? He should be getting years.... Good thing this was federal court. If it was Hawaii state court, he would have gotten good scoldings and ten hours of community service.
on September 3,2013 | 11:05PM
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