A Williston Park man charged with trying to ship a kilogram of cocaine across the country to himself in a television box was sentenced to 15 years in prison Tuesday.
David Kappen, 35, was convicted of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and third degrees in June and could have received a maximum of 24 years behind bars, but Judge Norman St. George handed down a sentence closer to the minimum 12 years.
According to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, on Aug. 3, 2010, Kappen and co-defendant Trent Singleton shipped a television box containing a kilogram of cocaine from a UPS store in Rancho Cucamunga, Calif. to an Auto Spa on Willis Avenue in Williston Park.
Local police in the UPS store grew suspicious that the defendants were shipping a 27-inch flatscreen television across the country and notified the Nassau County Police Department.
When the package arrived in Williston Park on Aug. 5, members of the narcotics team began surveillance around the Auto Spa, observing that a third co-defendant, Jamie Denton, placed the package into Singleton’s rental car at 11:40 a.m.
Singleton then left the Auto Spa in his car with Kappen following and later joined him in his vehicle, fleeng when officers attempted to pull them over. Singleton allegedly rammed a police vehicle during the pursuit. Both men were caught on foot shortly thereafter.
Singleton pleaded guilty to fifth degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in December 2011. Denton, who was arrested on Aug. 6, 2010, pleaded guilty to fourth degree criminal facilitation in June 2011.
The defense’s claims that Kappen never touched the box and didn’t know there was cocaine in the package.
“No matter what methods drug traffickers and dealers use to move their merchandise, law enforcement will always be one step ahead of them,” Rice said in a statement. “These three men are behind bars because of outstanding police work and an excellent prosecution and I will continue to work closely with other law enforcement agencies to keep drugs off our streets.”