Man Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Meth in Cargo Pants

A 26-year-old from East Palo Alto tried to board a flight at San Jose airport.


An East Palo Alto man has pleaded guilty to charges that he tried to smuggle six bags containing nearly 3 pounds of methamphetamine in his cargo pants while trying to board a Hawaiian Airlines flight in San Jose.

Michael James Cade, 26, of East Palo Alto entered a guilty plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Jose to a charge of possession with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of methamphetamine.

Cade is to be sentenced July 11 by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel.

About 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 1, Cade was at San Jose International Airport preparing to board a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Honolulu when he was chosen for secondary screening at a security checkpoint, authorities said.

While patting Cade down, a Transportation Security Administration agent "felt a large bulk item in the front right pocket of Cade's cargo pants," Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Anthony Guzman wrote in an affidavit.

Cade was asked to remove the item but insisted it was only money, Guzman wrote. Agents took Cade to a private screening area where they again asked him to take out whatever it was in his pants, authorities said.

Cade removed "one bag of crystal-like substance," the affidavit said. It was followed by four more bags, all of which were clear, quart-sized and sealed with black electrical tape, authorities said.

Security officials notified an on-duty San Jose police officer, who learned that Cade had an outstanding felony warrant from Modesto for narcotics and that he could be searched because he was on probation, the affidavit said.

Police searched Cade and found a sixth bag in a lower right pants pocket, authorities said. Cade then told officers that he had a pipe in his left front pocket, the affidavit said.

A test of the crystal-like substance concluded that it was methamphetamine, Guzman wrote.

Authorities said they believe Cade was smuggling the drugs and, since he had only $10 with him, had hoped to be paid for the illicit cargo in his pants, authorities said. Cade has previous convictions for felony theft, grand theft and narcotics possession, the affidavit said.



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