Jason Kandel

LA Man Will Plead Guilty to Smuggling Cocaine Suspended in Grease Inside Household Items

Federal authorities say the drugs were shipped via commercial airlines to Australia by concealing them in items like log splitters, air conditioners and lampstands

A Los Angeles man has agreed to plead guilty to smuggling nearly 90 pounds of cocaine, concealed and suspended in grease, to Australia by concealing it in items like log splitters, air conditioners and lampstands.

Prosecutors announced Friday that Vardges Markosyan of North Hollywood has agreed to enter pleas to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and launder money.

The drugs were suspended in grease, then placed in empty household items that included log splitters, air compressors, tankless water heaters, lampstands, and air conditioners, according to the plea agreement. 

Authorities say Markosyan's plea agreement acknowledges that from 2014 to 2016 he shipped about 40 kilograms of cocaine overseas. The shipments were sent on commercial airlines, according to federal authorities.

In one case, nearly 22 pounds of cocaine were concealed in a log splitter that was sent via FedEx to Australia.

Markosyan also acknowledges that he and his sister conspired to launder the drug proceeds by buying properties in North Hollywood and Studio City and using them obtain loans. His sister, Iren Markosyan, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy.

As part of the plea agreement, Vardges Markosyan agreed to forfeit interest in his Studio city property and two boats. All were held in his sister's name. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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