TUSCOLA — A Texas man caught with a load of cannabis in Douglas County three years ago was sentenced Thursday to 24 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
In late January, a Douglas County jury convicted Antonio Sustaita, 39, of Beeville, Texas, of cannabis trafficking, possession with intent to deliver cannabis and possession of cannabis for having about 73 pounds of cannabis in the pickup truck in which he was a passenger.
Illinois State Police stopped the truck on Interstate 57 north of Arcola on Feb. 4, 2010, because it had a cracked windshield and an air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror.
A drug-sniffing dog reacted to odors coming from the truck, leading police to search it. They found that the gas tank had been modified and that inside the tank were 42 bricks of suspected cannabis.
Judge Mike Carroll also ordered Sustaita to pay a street value fine of $60,000 and a $3,000 mandatory assessment.
Because of the amount of drugs, Sustaita was eligible for up to 60 years in prison.
Nolan said he sought a sentence of 27 years while Sustaita's attorney, Harvey Welch of Urbana, asked for a sentence closer to the minimum of 12 years. Carroll gave Sustaita credit for 395 days already served in custody in jail.
Nolan said Sustaita had prior convictions for driving under the influence, escape and resisting arrest in Texas.