COURTHOUSE — A Colorado pilot will remain grounded at Montgomery County’s jail after he was convicted of charges he was involved in a plot to smuggle methamphetamine to the county. James Michael Handzus, 51, of Rifle, Colo., showed no emotion on Tuesday as Judge Joseph A. Smyth convicted him of charges of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, criminal use of a communication facility, possession of drug paraphernalia and conspiracy in connection with incidents that occurred in April in Plymouth and at Wing’s Field in Whitpain. “I believe the legal justice system in this country works, sometimes,” Handzus said matter-of-factly as sheriff’s deputies escorted him from the courthouse in handcuffs for the trip to jail where he will remain pending his sentencing hearing early next year. Deputy District Attorney Kevin Steele characterized Handzus’ arrest and conviction as “significant.”
“Thankfully, in this case, he was dealing it…to an undercover detective. That saved us from having a lot of poison put out on the streets of Montgomery County,” Steele said after the verdict was announced. Handzus potentially faces decades in prison, including significant mandatory prison terms, in connection with the scheme to deliver more than 430 grams of methamphetamine to undercover detectives. During the two-day trial, Steele argued the one pound of methamphetamine that was seized had a street value of between $64,000 and $76,800. “The ramifications of the use of this are just horrible to the people and the addictions this causes. So, was it a significant drug bust? Yes, it was an extremely significant drug bust and we kept a lot of methamphetamine off the streets from a guy who had planned to open up shop and bring large quantities here to Montgomery County,” said Steele, who was assisted by prosecutor Lindsay Carfagno. Handzus’ girlfriend, Tamara Vincent, 41, pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and conspiracy in connection with the incident and is awaiting sentencing. Vincent’s lawyer, John I. McMahon Jr., said Vincent participated in the conspiracy but was not the “main actor.” Vincent faces a possible maximum sentence of 10-to-20-years in prison on the charges.