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Cocaine smuggler gets 10 year term

Wed., May 12, 2010

The last of two drug smugglers arrested in Utah with cocaine bound for a young helicopter pilot in the Colville National Forest has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Ross N. Legge, 54, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine last week in U.S. District Court in Utah and was sentenced to 120 months in prison, followed by 60 months probation, according to documents filed on Friday.

Legge and Leonard J. Ferris were arrested Feb. 21, 2009, near Ogden, Utah, after state troopers found 83 kilograms of cocaine in their pickup. The bust was part of the ongoing Operation Blade Runner drug investigation.

Ferris was sentenced in December to six years in prison in a hearing that was closed to the public.

The men had a storage unit in Spokane Valley where they kept an ATV, trailer, and other items used in drug trafficking. They were driving from Las Vegas to Eastern Washington to trade the cocaine to Canadian Samuel Jackson Lindsay-Brown when they were arrested.

Lindsay-Brown was arrested with 400 pounds of marijuana after federal agents infiltrated the operation following Legge and Ferris’ arrests. He committed suicide in Spokane County Jail on Feb. 27, 2009, at age 24. His story drew international attention and is set to be made into a movie by actor and director Jason Priestley.

Ferris pleaded guilty about two months after his arrest, but Legge fought the charge. His May 5 guilty plea came after a federal judge rejected a motion to suppress evidence obtained through the search of the truck.

Authorities have described Legge and Ferris’ stop as a routine traffic stop, but the motion shows the men were stopped by a state trooper who had already pulled over another vehicle for speeding.

The trooper said he stopped the black Ford F-150 truck Legge and Ferris were in because it didn’t move to the left lane when they passed the trooper, who was stopped alongside the highway’s right lane.

Legge said he lived in Spokane, and he and Ferris gave conflicting stories about why they had traveled to Las Vegas, according to court documents.

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