Two New York truckers sentenced to federal prison for almost 20 years did not know their cargo was nearly a ton of cocaine, they and their supporters said.
Codell Chavis of New Rochelle and Kenneth Fitzgerald of the Bronx said their naivete led them to serve as unwitting couriers for the largest load of cocaine ever seized in North Carolina. State officials said that the cocaine was worth about $86 million on the street.
Their attorneys vowed appeals of their convictions and sentences Friday.
Just before sentencing, both men repeated that they had no idea what was in the truck. Chavis spread his arms wide and spoke about his disdain for drugs and his frustration at going to prison, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.
A state trooper stopped Chavis and Fitzgerald as they drove on Interstate 85 near Greensboro in December. The men allowed the trooper to search the truck. He found 13 boxes full of cellophane-wrapped packages of cocaine.