Crime - Sacto 911

Man caught with pot-filled suitcases at Lincoln airport pleads guilty

A Reno man arrested in 2012 after he was found placing suitcases containing marijuana in an plane at the Lincoln airport has pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute it.

Kevin Dennis Golden, 39, entered the plea in federal court in Sacramento on Friday, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

Court documents indicate that on Dec. 14, 2012, law enforcement agents went to the Lincoln airport as part of an investigation into a suspicious Cessna airplane that had been making frequent flights from California to the Midwest and East Coast. After the plane landed, the pilot was seen going into the pilot’s lounge.

Approximately an hour later, Golden drove up to the airplane, removed three black suitcases and a backpack from his vehicle and placed them inside the airplane, authorities said. He then drove to a nearby parking lot, parked and walked back to the airplane.

When law enforcement agents approached Golden at the plane, they obtained his consent to look inside the suitcases. They discovered multiple vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana in the suitcases, and an additional bag of marijuana in the smaller backpack that also contained Golden’s identification, authorities said. A total of 40 kilograms, or 88 pounds, of marijuana were taken out of the suitcases and backpack, they reported.

“The use of private planes and small private airports to distribute controlled substances is a known and continuing problem within the Eastern District of California,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said in a written statement. He warned that people involved in such activity face prison, large fines, and , in some cases, forfeiture of vehicles and aircraft used in the operations.

Golden is to be sentenced March 27 by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr.

The case resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, with the assistance of the Lincoln Police Department and Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.