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Hayward man jailed for cocaine smuggling

A judge has sentenced a 43-year-old Hayward man to 10 years in prison for attempting to help obtain and transport cocaine by smuggling it through San Francisco International Airport, the US Department of Justice said.

According to a statement, Lemack Bellot was convicted earlier this year after a week-long trial in which government officials presented evidence that he tried to help smuggle items he believed to be cocaine in May and November 2018.

It turned out that Bellot had spoken to a confidential source who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, posing as an Atlanta-based drug dealer. As previously reported by this news organization, the two met several times at Fogline Sports Bar and Grill in Hayward, a bar owned by Bellot that got its name after an appearance on “Bar Rescue,” a reality TV show that gives a makeover to struggling bars. Previously the bar was called Russell City Sports Bar and Grill.

The source sought to help the DEA investigate reports that Bellot had paid workers to let drugs through airport security. On six occasions over the next eight months, he said, Bellot made arrangements through airline employees and fees to help the source transport drugs through Bay Area airports.

A federal grand jury indicted Bellot in February 2019 for aiding and encouraging possession with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine, and aiding and encouraging possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.

After a jury found him guilty on March 4, government officials offered additional documentation for his conviction showing that Bellot attempted to sell heroin to and buy cocaine from the same confidential source.

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In July, just before a scheduled sentencing, Bellot boarded a Haiti-bound commercial freighter from Miami, but US Coast Guard investigators boarded and arrested him.

U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria on Tuesday sentenced Bellot to 10 years in prison, as well as a five-year term on controlled release.

Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.

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