Newport Beach Marijuana Smuggler Arrested After Laughable Sailboat Blunders
Drug dealer rule violations: Don't leave wallet. Don't leave phone. Don't leave 90 bales of pot.
Accused international marijuana smuggler Nickolas Leivas came close to successfully landing at the harbor in Newport Beach last June, but he's now in the custody of U.S. marshals and facing federal narcotics transportation charges because of his own stupidity.
A U.S. Coast Guard crew spotted Leivas and another man in a 30-foot sail boat, attempted to stop the craft and then pursued it until the alleged traffickers fled on foot onto streets near Balboa Island.
Though the suspects managed to evade detection by the Newport Beach Police Department, Leivas made mistakes that eventually led to his arrest.
He didn't just leave his cell phone, a black Verizon Motorola Droid, in he boat. He also abandoned 90 bales of marijuana as well as his wallet, according to a Department of Homeland Security report reviewed by the Weekly.
Leivas, who was born in 1982, was denied bail by a U.S. magistrate judge and will face future hearings to determine his guilt or innocent inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.
Prosecutors have indicated a desire to confiscate the $20,000 sailboat as federal property forfeited because of its use in narcotics trafficking.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.