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Californians get prison for pot smuggling

Nichols Fejer

Nichols Fejer

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Updated: December 1, 2012 6:16AM

Two California men are going to prison for flying in more than 165 pounds of marijuana to Waukegan Regional Airport.

Michael Fejer, 28, and his brother, Nicholas Fejer, 24, were before Lake County Circuit Judge James Booras for sentencing Monday

He sentenced Michael to six years in prison and Nicholas to four years.

They had previously pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana for the May 5, 2011 incident. The Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group had been tipped off that an airplane transporting marijuana was arriving at Waukegan Regional Airport.

The Fejers and co-defendant Brian Daughterty of Aurora were taken into custody and charged with unlawful cannabis trafficking and unlawful possession with intent to deliver.

Daughterty, 32, previously pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis with intent to deliver and was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison. He is due to be transported to the Illinois Department of Corrections on Nov. 2, according to court records.

“The public must be protected from the harmful effect of the distribution of drugs. Today’s marijuana has a potentially harmful effect on the population,” Booras said.

Because of the plea deal, the Fejers faced a maximum of 15 years in prison. Probation was also an option.

Michael owned and piloted the airplane. He was also the one who knew Daughterty and set the deal up, according to testimony in court Monday. Nicholas was the co-pilot who was “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” his attorney Eric Rinehart said.

Daughterty was the “mastermind” of the deal, Booras said. “These are idiotic actions, (a) lack of judgment. Not thinking of the consequences, just seeing dollar signs.”

Law enforcement officials recovered 165.5 pounds of marijuana from the airplane. That has a street value of $247,500, according to MEG agent and Illinois State Police officer Raymond O’Brien.

“This is the largest amount of cannabis shipped to Lake County from California via an airplane,” O’Brien said.

He described both Fejers as cooperative with MEG officials and said they helped get Daughterty in custody. The Fejers also provided officials with seven names of other alleged drug dealers and contacts.

“I wish I could take back what I did but I can’t. What I did was wrong. I deserve to be punished. What I can do is ask for mercy,” Michael said.

He owns AirCal Aviation LLC in California. He said he has spent time trying to rebuild his business. He said he has been “completely humiliated and humbled” throughout the court process.

His brother apologized for his actions.

“It was a foolish mistake. Both my brother and I never thought I’d be standing here (in court) before you now,” Nicholas said.

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