Crime

Milford man gets prison for role in weed trafficking ring


MILFORD — A Milford man will serve nearly eight years in federal prison for his role in a large-scale marijuana trafficking ring, officials said.

Robert Capelli, 34, of Milford, was sentenced Tuesday to serve 95 months in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham.

Capelli was also ordered to pay a $30,000 fine.

Information presented during Capelli’s trail showed that in 2016 the Federal Aviation Administration started to investigate a single-engine aircraft owned by Milford resident Donald Burns. The plane was making regular flights from Stratford to northern California.

On June 28, 2017, Burns flew the plane from northern California to Lubbock, Tx. The next day, Burns flew to Arkansas, then to West Virginia and finally back to Sikorsky Airport in Connecticut.


When Burns landed, law enforcement searched the plane and found 400 pounds of marijuana in vacuum-sealed packages. Burns was immediately taken into custody and charged.

Investigators found that the marijuana was intended for Capelli, Scott Bodnar, Terrell Givens and others. They were to distribute the product in Connecticut.

Further investigation showed that for more than two years, Capelli and his associates earned millions of dollars by trafficking nearly two tons of marijuana from California to Connecticut.

Members of the trafficking ring also laundered more than $6 million to buy marijuana in California, maintain properties for distribution in Connecticut, pay Burns to transport the marijuana and for other expenses related to the ring.

On July 25, a jury found Capelli guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and one count of possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.

Capelli was found not guilty of one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and one count of money laundering.

As part of the investigation, Capelli forfeited $55,000.

Capelli, who was released on bond, was ordered to report to prison on January 14, 2020.

On May 2, Bodnar — an Ansonia resident — pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.


On Sept. 4, Bodnar was sentenced to 55 months of imprisonment and ordered to forfeit his 2012 Toyota Camry.

On May 3, Givens — a Beacon Falls resident — pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

On Sept. 11, he was sentenced to 55 months of imprisonment and ordered to forfeit his 2009 Jaguar XF and jewlery valued at around $8,000.

On May 6, Burns — a Milford resident — pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana.

Burns, who awaits sentencing, has agreed to forfeit his plane.

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