A San Diego attorney is being held in a New York jail for his alleged involvement in a cocaine smuggling plan.
Attorney Todd Macaluso, who is an avid pilot, is accused of using his passion for flying to help cocaine traffickers shuttle 1,500 kilograms of cocaine between two destinations in South America, according to an arrest warrant unsealed by a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York.
The arrest warrant stated Macaluso was arrested in Haiti before a deal occurred.
According to the warrant, Macaluso and Humber Osuna Contreras, also known as "Mateo", flew from Orlando, Florida, to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Nov. 13. The warrant stated the men met with Carlos Almonte Vasquez the next day, and the conversation and many others were electronically recorded.
Macaluso told the other two men the Falcon 10 plane he was flying could hold 1,500 kilograms of cocaine, according to the warrant.
Team 10 learned the plane with the tail number N720DF is owned by the Maule Group, LLC, out of Danbury, Connecticut. Team 10's calls to people associated with that group were not answered.
Macaluso is not named in ownership documents filed with the Connecticut Secretary of State.
Haitian law enforcement officers arrested the three men before they could carry out their plan. The suspects were expelled from Haiti and sent to New York to face charges.
Macaluso has had legal problems in the past. He spent five months in prison this year for defrauding clients and investors by entering into funding agreements that put cases up for collateral without their knowledge.
If convicted of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine, Macaluso could get 10 years to life in prison.
Macaluso's wife, Tonya, declined comment for this story.
UPDATE (Nov. 28, 2016): A group of investors are calling Macaluso's arrest "karma."
"I don't know how he thought he could have gotten away with it," said David Paquin, an attorney who represents several frustrated investors.
The investors say Macaluso didn't use their money the way he promised and never paid it back.
"Their position was look, this guy stole our life savings and if we can't get our money back, we at least want to see him go to jail," said Paquin.