Tuesday, July 29, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 13 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Pot-smuggling musician gets 3 months in prison

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:49 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 oversize 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 said, "This is a significant amount of drugs you secreted in your musician drums."

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.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 13 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
tiwtsfm wrote:
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
on September 4,2013 | 05:46AM
allie wrote:
jail da bird!
on September 4,2013 | 06:44AM
Slow wrote:
Oooo, you have learned pidgin! Or, as they call it on Hawaii 5-0, "bird."
on September 4,2013 | 06:58AM
Skyler wrote:
He should have gotten 3 more months for that.
on September 5,2013 | 01:25AM
inHilo wrote:
Looks like he was trying to drum up some business.
on September 4,2013 | 06:07AM
koolaukid wrote:
Marijuana is not and has never been a dangerous drug.
on September 4,2013 | 06:30AM
Slow wrote:
It is all about jobs. Why else would the cops be so against marijuana? We still have copters patrolling back and forth here in Puna. Why? Because marijuana remains a Class 1 drug. If our gov't says so, it must be true.
on September 4,2013 | 07:00AM
DABLACK wrote:
He'll turn to the "good Book" (Bible) for sure. It worked before and it'll work again.
on September 4,2013 | 09:57AM
nalogirl wrote:
So why is Rev. Christie still in jail? 23 pounds of pot and who knows how long this has been going on. There seems to be some bias in this case. Hawaii judges are losers.
on September 4,2013 | 10:03AM
Bully wrote:
Story doesn't make any sense, TSA in San Francisco seized the drum with drugs in california, DEA talks to suspect when he gets off the airplane but nobody is there to watch him grab his drumset and claim his drugs. Then the judge gives the guy three months in prison for transporting 23 pounds of marijuana. Three months in prison, what did he plead guilty do to get such a little prison sentence or did he rat out the people that he bought it from or the people he was going to sell it do?
on September 4,2013 | 02:21PM
rayhawaii wrote:
Hate to say it but, "try buy local". Plus 3 months and 3 months???
on September 4,2013 | 04:37PM
kailua000 wrote:
what a loser photo for someone his age.
on September 4,2013 | 05:38PM
kainalu wrote:
He was stupid for what he did, but the country is stupid for not decriminalizing the herb. A waste of valuable resources, aka, tax payer dollars.
on September 4,2013 | 09:34PM
Latest News/Updates