CHARTER-JET OFFICIAL DENIES GUILT.Byline: Andrea Cavanaugh Staff Writer
The co-owner of a charter jet company accused of running a drug-smuggling ring out of Van Nuys Airport Van Nuys Airport (IATA: VNY, ICAO: KVNY, FAA LID: VNY) is a public airport located in Van Nuys, California in the San Fernando Valley, within the Los Angeles city limits. pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of money laundering The process of taking the proceeds of criminal activity and making them appear legal.
Laundering allows criminals to transform illegally obtained gain into seemingly legitimate funds. and conspiracy to distribute drugs.
Clarence Adolphus, 46, of Moorpark appeared in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. , along with seven others named in the indictment, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Villeza said.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. a criminal complaint, Adolphus, the co-owner of SmoothAir Aviation, told drug traffickers Noun 1. drug trafficker - an unlicensed dealer in illegal drugs
drug dealer, drug peddler, peddler, pusher
criminal, crook, felon, malefactor, outlaw - someone who has committed a crime or has been legally convicted of a crime that they should use his service because unlike commercial passenger planes, his jets were not subject to security searches.
Adolphus' attorney did not return a phone call for comment.
Adolphus pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering and conspiracy to distribute drugs, along with Mauricio Torres, 31, of Compton; Daniel Franco-Acuna, 35, of Norwalk; Juan Franco, 33, of Maywood; and Pablo Rodolfo Miranda, 38, of Compton, Villeza said.
Ramon Castillo Martinez, 32, of Los Angeles pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute drugs.
Marybeth Emberland, 45, of Woodland Hills and Blossom Marie Thorndike, 26, of Moorpark each pleaded not guilty to charges of structuring cash transactions, Villeza said.
Emberland is the wife of SmoothAir President Craig Emberland, who was not named in the indictment.
A ninth person named in the indictment, Lester Aubrey Bull, 40, of Diamond Bar, remains a fugitive, Villeza said.
Adolphus and seven others were arrested on April 1 after a nearly two- year investigation.
Authorities said Adolphus used his jets to import cocaine, marijuana marijuana or marihuana, drug obtained from the flowering tops, stems, and leaves of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa (see hemp) or C. indica; the latter species can withstand colder climates. and other drugs for a drug ring based in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Andrea Cavanaugh, (805) 583-7602