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DA: Man convicted of shipping kilo of coke

A Williston Park man faces 12 to 24 years in prison after a jury convicted him of shipping a kilogram of cocaine to himself from California, Nassau County prosecutors said Friday.

A jury needed about a day to return the conviction Thursday of David Kappen, 35, for first- and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to a news release from District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Kappen is scheduled for sentencing on July 26.

Prosecutors said that Kappen and co-defendant Trent Singleton shipped a flat-panel television box containing the cocaine from a UPS store in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., to an automobile-service shop in Williston Park in August 2010.

Police in California became suspicious of the shipments of flat-screen TVs across country and notified Nassau police about the package, prosecutors said.

The package arrived in Williston Park on Aug. 5, 2010, and Nassau's Narcotics Vice Bureau set up surveillance, the release said. Police saw Kappen and Singleton near the shop that morning, and at about 11:40 a.m., a third man, Jamie Denton, placed the package into Singleton's rental car, prosecutors said.

Singleton drove off with Kappen following in his own car, prosecutors said. Kappen later joined Singleton in his vehicle, and the two fled from police. When officers attempted to pull them over, Singleton rammed his car into a police vehicle. Both men were caught on foot shortly thereafter.

The jury rejected claims by Kappen that he never touched the box and didn't know there was cocaine in the package.

Singleton pleaded guilty in December to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and is serving 3 1/2 years in prison. Denton, who was arrested on Aug. 6, 2010, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal facilitation last June. He received a conditional discharge.

Rice praised the work of police and her office in prosecuting the case. She also said the verdict is a result of the jury's ability to see the truth.

"Thankfully, this package was intercepted before its contents could poison our communities," she said in the release.

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