Beacon Falls man sentenced for role in marijuana distribution ring

BEACON FALLS — A 34-year-old town man was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison Sept. 11 for his role in a major marijuana distribution ring that used a small aircraft to smuggle marijuana into the state.

Terrell Givens pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to distribute, and possession with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Givens and two other men, Scott Bodnar, 40, of Ansonia, and Donald Burns, 61, of Milford, took part in the scheme, according to authorities, which involved Burns flying a single-engine Piper airplane from California to Connecticut.

Authorities were tracking the plane as it made its way across the country and landed at Sikorsky Airport in Stratford on June 28, 2017. Inside, authorities found 400 pounds of marijuana in vacuum-sealed packages they suspected were meant for distribution within Connecticut.

The investigation of the trio showed they earned millions of dollars by trafficking nearly two tons of marijuana into the state. Bodnar, Givens and others also laundered approximately $6 million to purchase marijuana in California, pay for their travel to and from California, and pay Burns to transport the drugs, according to authorities.

The trio agreed to forfeit cash and valuables, including Burns’ Piper aircraft, a 2012 Toyota Camry belonging to Bodnar, and a 2009 Jaguar XF and about $8,000 in jewelry belonging to Givens.

Givens is free on a $300,000 bond, but must report to prison on Oct. 23.