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Man Sentenced In Mailing Of Meth In Mannequin Heads

Huffington Post, January 9, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) -- A man was sentenced Thursday for his role in the mailing of four pounds of crystal methamphetamine to Hawaii that was stuffed in two mannequin heads.

Zebulon Bates, 37, of Kaneohe, Hawaii, was sentenced to 52 months in prison and has until next month to start serving the time because his girlfriend is about to give birth to their fourth child.

Authorities intercepted the package from Ontario, California, last year at a UPS sorting facility.

An undercover officer posing as a UPS delivery person delivered the package to an address in Kaaawa, where Bates picked it up, a criminal complaint said.

Bates said he agreed to receive the package in exchange for four ounces of meth that he planned to sell. Bates told investigators he was instructed to take the parcel to two men who would get him if he didn't pay for any drugs he purchased, court documents said.

Bates was sentenced after pleading guilty to three counts involving conspiracy to possess and distribute drugs.

It was the second case involving mannequin heads used to conceal meth shipment to Hawaii.

"We were never able to directly link them," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Inciong said after Bates was sentenced. "I would find it extremely unlikely they were not connected in some way."

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright noted that the cooperation of Bates led to the arrests of two other people not involved in his case.

"I do believe you should receive considerable credit for that," he said.

Bates played a smaller role than a co-defendant but said in court that his involvement showed "extremely poor judgment" for someone his age.

"You need to be a dad and nothing else," Seabright said.

Bates apologized in court, saying he needed the money but should have known better.

His public defender, Alexander Silvert, said outside of court his client doesn't know why mannequin heads were used. "He had nothing to do with the shipping," Silvert said.