Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, found guilty of conspiring to smuggle cocaine to the U.S. earlier this year, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday.
Yaroshenko and Nigerian Chigbo Peter Umeh were detained in Liberia in May 2010 and extradited to the United States on charges of smuggling a large batch of cocaine, part of which was destined to the U.S. Umeh was sentenced to 30 years in jail in late July.
The New York Federal Court in April convicted Yaroshenko of conspiring to smuggle drugs into America. Sentencing in his case has been postponed until September 7.
Yaroshenko’s lawyer requested the court to take into account the defendant’s reputation and the lack of criminal record and impose the minimal sentence of 10 years in prison.
In his 30-minute last plea, Yaroshenko dismissed charges against him as “lies and slander” and asked the judge to “show mercy” for his family.
The sentencing was attended by the pilot’s mother, wife and daughter.
Yaroshenko’s lawyer said this summer the 43-year-old pilot could be transferred to Russia to serve out his sentence.