Crime & Courts

Drug kingpin sentenced to 20 years in prison

A man who used couriers flying on commercial airlines to deliver tons of marijuana from Los Angeles to Charlotte and other cities was sentenced to 20 years in prison this week.

Jose Delarosa, 36, of Moreno Valley, Calif., was a major marijuana supplier who trafficked up to 30 tons of marijuana, U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose said.

Court records show that from 2009 to 2014, couriers flew numerous times to California with about $50,000 in cash in carry-on luggage per trip. The couriers returned to Charlotte with about 100 pounds of marijuana hidden in checked baggage, according to court documents.

So far, 65 people have been successfully prosecuted in the case. Three others remain fugitives, prosecutors said.

Numerous local police departments and sheriff’s offices assisted in the investigation, which was called Operation Goldilocks.

The investigation led to the seizure of $1 million in drug proceeds, 600 pounds of marijuana and 13 firearms, prosecutors said.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak