On February 23, 2010 an undocumented immigrant from Sonora, Mexico named Francisco "Poncho" Javier-Rivera was stopped by police on I-70 in Madison County.
The cops searched his refrigerated truck and found a load of produce -- specifically 37,000 pounds of spaghetti squash, a type of orange and yellow winter squash whose flesh resembles strings of pasta when cooked.
And, since no meal is complete without a side of leafy greens, Poncho also had 242 kilos of weed stashed beneath the squash.
Javier-Rivera eventually pleaded guilty to charges of "possession with the intent to distribute marijuana in excess of 100 kilograms," and "entry into the United States without inspection."
Yesterday in East St. Louis federal court he was sentenced to five years in federal prison for smuggling the gourds and ganja. He was also ordered to pay a fine and the cost of his incarceration, estimated by the government to be $2, 157 per month.
The sentence was the "mandatory minimum" under federal guidelines and came after several members of Javier-Rivera's extended family wrote letters to the court explaining that he was a divorcee and who "has taken care of his kids," for nine years and "has been a really good man has always worked hard."