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Convicted Pilot Gets Long Prison Term For Flying Crystal Meth Into Montgomery County

(Defendant James Handzus is escorted by police after his sentencing.) (credit: KYW's Brad Segall)

(Defendant James Handzus is escorted by police after his sentencing.) (credit: KYW’s Brad Segall)

Brad Segall Brad Segall
Brad Segall is the award-winning Suburban Bureau chief at KYW...
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By Brad Segall

BLUE BELL, Pa (CBS) — A Montgomery County judge sentenced a Colorado man to at least nine years in state prison on Tuesday for flying crystal meth into the Philadelphia area and then trying to sell the drugs for distribution on the streets.

52-year-old James Handzus was convicted of numerous drug charges last year after prosecutors say he flew from Colorado to Las Vegas, picked up the crystal meth, and then flew into Wings Field in Blue Bell.

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The judge sentenced Handzus to nine to 22 years behind bars.

Prosecutor Kevin Steele argued for a long jail term, telling the court that Handzus ran a sophisticated operation.

“He was going to try to do that with use of pre-paid phones,” said Steele. “He was going to try to do that by not talking on the phone about the specifics…wanted to meet in person.”

Handzus was arrested when he tried to sell the drugs to an undercover cop at a Plymouth Meeting restaurant.

He told the judge it was a series of bad decisions that brought him to court, saying his grief, greed, addiction and stupidity led to his actions.

“The defendant has admitted that (meth) ruined his life,” added Steele. “And that it caused his divorce, lost his ranch, lost his job.”

Handzus’ plane was forfeited to the District Attorney’s office.

His co-defendant, a former girlfriend, was still awaiting sentencing.

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